RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Chinese swimming team manager Xu Qi on Thursday denounced reports that star swimmer Sun Yang had attempted to disrupt Australian arch-rival Mack Horton's training session at the Rio pool.
"It is fake news," said Xu. "Sun Yang and the Australian swimmers are very good friends."
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Yang had tried to distract Horton by splashing him with water as the pair trained in the competition pool on Thursday.
The Daily Mail Australian also carried a picture showing Australian swimmers Daniel Smith and Joshua Palmer, both looking serious, stared down a smiling Sun Yang on a bus back to the Olympic village from training.
"Sun Yang was trying to get his attention but he stayed calm," Horton's coach Craig Jackson was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail Australia.
But Xu claimed the reports were not true and asked the media to "write about Sun Yang objectively and not to make up stories about him."
"Chinese swimmers respect their opponents and want to make friends with athletes from other countries. They are here to compete in the Olympic Games and realize their dreams."