BEIJING - Chinese swimming star Sun Yang's Australian coach said he felt sorry for the double Olympic champion after it emerged he had served a doping ban, telling media Thursday the athlete was "let down".
Denis Cotterell made his comments after Australian swimming authorities barred the 1,500 metres world record-holder from training in the country's pools in the wake of the high-profile drugs case.
Sun served a three-month penalty after testing positive for the banned stimulant trimetazidine in May. He completed his ban on August 17, but it was only revealed by Chinese authorities last month.
Cotterell told Chinese state news agency Xinhua that he was disappointed for Sun and that he "feel(s) for him personally".
"His situation is most unfortunate, and I definitely don't hold him to any blame," he said.
"While only knowing the circumstances as outlined in the various press and media outlets, I feel he's been let down." Cotterell said that new rules set by Australia meant that he had to end his coaching contract with the Chinese Swimming Association.
He will miss training Chinese swimmers, he said, a relationship that goes back to him working which Zhang Lin, who won China's first men's Olympic medal in the pool by claiming silver in the 400m freestyle at Beijing 2008.
"I will miss many of my Chinese associates, especially the coaches and swimmers I have had the pleasure of working with over the last eight years," he told Xinhua.
"I don't preclude the possibility of being involved sometime in the future, with Sun Yang and other Chinese swimmers."