Why Horton deserves praise for podium protest
All hail Mack Horton, drug cheat protester.
It makes me proud to be an Aussie when I see Horton once again protest against Chinese drug cheat Sun Yang.
Horton continued his bitter feud with Sun at the world swimming championships in South Korea by refusing to stand on the podium with the man who's being investigated as a drug cheat.
He also refused to pose for photos with the Chinese swimmer.
Only Horton has the guts to stand up to the might of the Chinese, and we should all be glad he does.
His actions mean more than thousands of words uttered by others.
Sun has accused Horton of disrespecting the whole of China in his move. So be it.
But Horton wasn't disrespecting the whole country; he was objecting to the process that's allowed a one-time drug cheat facing continued questions about his drug testing regime to keep competing.
Let's remember that Sun Yang served a secret three-month ban after testing positive to a prohibited stimulant back in 2014 and returned to competition before his suspension was officially confirmed by Chinese officials.
Now Sun has been accused of destroying one of his own doping samples last year before it could be tested for drugs. Although Sun was cleared by a doping panel, the World Anti-Doping Agency has lodged an appeal that is yet to be heard.
The allegations are serious enough for him to be potentially banned from swimming at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The doping panel was found not to have been properly accredited, which apparently led to the sample being destroyed by hammer.
But many questions remain: why has WADA allowed this issue to fester for so long? Why not clear it up before this important race meet? Why didn't Sun do another drug test the next day and make the result public? What does he have to hide?
And - the big one - why is a drug cheat allowed to keep swimming?
As far as I am concerned, once a drug cheat, always a drug cheat.
Horton is not the only one wondering why Sun is allowed to swim at the world championships. British and American swimmers are asking the same question.
I am glad Horton has the support of the Australian swimming team; he's going to need it.
Last time he stood up to the Chinese he was trolled mercilessly.
He was called a liar, a cheat, a loser and a snake. At the time Horton was sent posts filled with abuse show a picture of a man's throat being cut, his face superimposed onto a naked female bottom and a photo of a Chinese shooter taking aim.
Already there are calls for Horton to be penalised, which is disappointing. But he has some important allies, including head coach Jacco Verhaeren who said Horton should be respected for what he does.
Perhaps his courageous efforts will inspire other athletes to do the same and condemn drug takers for what they really are: dirty cheats who don't deserve to be competing.