China's Sun Yang is set to compete in the inaugural International Swimming Federation (FINA) Champions Swim Series in Guangzhou, following allegations he helped to deliberately smash his blood sample in a row with drugs testers in January.
The Sunday Times had alleged Sun and his security guard had used a hammer to destroy a sealed vial containing the swimmer's blood after questioning the authenticity of the tester's identification card.
Reigning Olympic 200 metres freestyle champion Sun denied wrongdoing and avoided punishment from FINA and its doping panel, instead receiving a warning.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has since filed an appeal against this decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
If CAS rules in WADA's favour, Sun could receive a lifetime ban, having already served a three-month suspension in 2014 after testing positive for prohibited substance trimetazidine.
Despite this, Sun is still set to compete in the first event of FINA's new competition, starting tomorrow at Guangdong Olympic Sports Centre.
The competition has a unique format, in which the four best swimmers in each discipline are invited to participate.
Nine Olympic gold medallists will take part, including Chad Le Clos of South Africa, Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden, Anthony Ervin of the United States and Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu.
Sixteen world champions will also compete, alongside 42 Olympic and world silver and bronze medallists.
The event will be held over two days, with 14 races on each day.
Before it has even begun, the FINA Champions Swim Series is already embroiled in controversy.
Many view the competition as a direct response from FINA to criticism from athletes who were allegedly barred from taking part in new International Swimming League (ISL) competitions.
The ISL has accused FINA of "copying the ISL's team competition model in a further FINA effort to quash competition that benefits swimmers and fans alike".
Despite being set to participate in this weekend's event, Hosszu is one of three leading swimmers suing FINA over allegedly violating US antitrust laws, following the governing body’s opposition to an ISL event in Turin in December.
Hungary's capital Budapest is due to host the second leg of the Series from May 11 to 12, while Indianapolis in the the United States will round off the competition from May 31 to June 1.