ONE of China’s top female distance runners, Sun Yingjie, has accused her coach of beating her unconscious, whipping her and breaking her collar bone during 10 years of physical abuse.
‘He took me to a room and beat me until I was almost down on the ground, then I passed out.’
‘My back is covered with so many cuts and bruises that I cannot even take off my clothes.’ - Sun Yingjie (above) – AP
‘What she said is nonsense.’ - Zhu Fengling, wife of coach Wang Dexian
Sun, 27, the 5,000 metres bronze-medallist at the 2003 World Championships, alleged in a television interview this week that coach Wang Dexian subjected her to regular beatings.
The athlete, who is currently serving a two-year ban but hopes to compete at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, said that she eventually split with Wang because she could no longer endure the abuse.
In one incident Sun said that he beat her so badly he broke her collar bone and left her unconscious.
‘He took me to a room and beat me until I was almost down on the ground, then I passed out,’ said the runner in the TV interview that was reported by Chinese newspapers yesterday.
‘He beat me, beat me so badly that he broke my collar bone,’ she said. ‘If that had carried on I could not even go on living, never mind think about winning the Olympic title.’
She also accused Wang of recently whipping her with a belt.
‘My back is covered with so many cuts and bruises that I cannot even take off my clothes,’ she said.
Sun is now training without a coach and at her own expense at China’s elite national training centre in Chengong, outside Kunming in the southern province of Yunnan, the Beijing News reported.
Coach Wang declined to respond to the allegations but his wife Zhu Fengling, also a coach, said that Wang had split with Sun in August and denied the charges.
‘What she said is nonsense,’ Zhu told the China Daily newspaper.
Sun’s allegations are nothing new in Chinese sport where coaches are often accused of being tyrannical.
‘Coaches only know how to beat performances out of their athletes,’ a senior athletics official was quoted as saying in the state press.
China’s most famous coach, Ma Junren, head of the once celebrated Ma’s ‘family army’ of female runners, was often accused of being too hard on his charges, but not to the extent of physically beating them.
Ma, whose stable of runners included 1996 Olympic 5000m women’s gold-medallist Wang Junxia, retired two years ago under a cloud .
Sun was banned from international sport until 19 Oct 19, 2007.
However, in December last year Sun won a court case against a fellow athlete whom she accused of spiking her drinks.
Sun now hopes to make a comeback for the Beijing Olympics and athletics officials said that she would be welcomed back in the national team after her ban.
‘Once the ban is over, all she has to do is perform up to national team standards and she will be back,’ China’s national long distance coach Tian Xiajun told the Beijing News. - AFP