Olympic champion Mack Horton refuses to stand on the podium with swimming rival Sun Yang

Gwangju 2019 FINA World Championships: Swimming - Day 1

Australian swimmer Mack Horton refused to share the podium with China's Sun Yang after finishing second in the 400m freestyle at the World Aquatics Championships in South Korea.

Horton also refused to pose for photographs and shake hands with Sun, after taking photos with Italy's bronze medal winner Gabriele Detti, renewing a rivalry which was sparked in 2016, following remarks made about the Chinese athlete's past conduct.

In 2014, Sun tested positive for trimetazidine, a banned substance which he claimed he had taken for a heart problem. Following his positive test, the swimmer was banned from competing for three months.

Two years later, the Australian ignited a feud with Sun after alleging that he was deliberately splashed by his opponent during a training session. Horton, as quoted by the Daily Mirror, said: "I ignored him, I don't have time or respect for drug cheats.

"I just have a problem with athletes who have tested positive and are still competing."

Horton's inflammatory comments led to Chinese officials demanding an apology from the athlete. However, the 23-year-old's statements were supported by the Australian Olympic Committee, who said that he was "entitled to express a point of view."

The committee added: "He has spoken out in support of clean athletes. This is something he feels strongly about and good luck to him."

After winning gold in South Korea, Sun expressed his disappointment in the way Horton conducted himself. Sun said: "Disrespecting me was OK, but disrespecting China was unfortunate. I feel sorry about that."

Gwangju 2019 FINA World Championships: Swimming - Day 1

When asked about why he refused to share the podium, the Australian swimmer replied: "Frustration is probably it.

"I think you know in what respect. I don't think I need to say anything. His actions and how it has been handled speaks louder than anything I could say."

Sun has again been accused of taking performance enhancing drugs and will attend a hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in September, after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealed the decision to clear him of destroying blood samples.

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