Under-fire swimming superstar Sun Yang has asked for a public hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Chinese state media reported Saturday, where he will mount a defence against explosive doping allegations.
Sun is one of the biggest names in the sport, the only swimmer to capture Olympic gold over 200, 400 and 1,500 metres, but has been plagued by scandal throughout his career.
A leaked report by swimming's world body FINA claimed Sun, the sport's pantomime villain, destroyed his own blood samples with a hammer last September.
FINA cleared Sun to compete but the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has appealed the decision at the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which will hold hearings in September, with the swimmer's career on the line.
Sun's lawyers released a statement on Friday demanding a public hearing "to be fully transparent and to clear his name", China's official Xinhua news agency reported in a dispatch from Geneva.
The explosive contents of the FINA report were published by Australia's Sunday Telegraph, and Sun's lawyers accused the newspaper of publishing "an incomplete and biased account of the drug testing on Sun Yang" and of defaming the swimmer, Xinhua said.
Sun and a security guard are said to have smashed vials of blood collected after independent testers visited the athlete's villa in Zhejiang province last September, according to the leaked report.
"Sun Yang objects to being tried by the Australian press by journalists who cherry-picked through FINA's judgment, inciting adverse and damaging reactions from third-parties on the internet," his lawyers said, according to Xinhua.
The lawyers also claimed the testing officials involved in the incident last year "were not properly accredited" and that Sun noticed one of them was "secretly filming him", Xinhua added.
Sun was willing to "wait all night" for accredited officials but the body providing the testing personnel refused, the lawyers said.
The decision to allow Sun to compete at the world swimming championships in South Korea had raised eyebrows, with some top swimmers like Lilly King of the USA criticising FINA for it.
If WADA win their appeal, and Sun is found guilty of a doping violation, he could face a lifetime ban after serving a three-month suspension in 2014 for taking a banned stimulant he claimed was for a heart problem.