BEIJING (April 4, 2002 01:45 AM EST) - A comeback by China’s 5,000-meter women’s Olympic champion, Wang Junxia, has been put on hold due to a run-in with the country’s all-powerful sports officialdom, state press said Thursday.
‘My conditioning is good enough for me to come back, but someone does not want me to do so,’ Wang told the Sports Weekly.
Wang, 29, appeared to be referring to her former coach, Ma Junren, who guided her to 1993 world records in the 3,000 and 10,000 meters, the paper said. Wang’s 10,000m record of 29 minutes, 31.78 seconds still stands.
The controversial Ma, known for his dictatorial ‘marathon-a-day’ training regimes and concoctions of Chinese herbal tonics, put China’s women’s distance running on the global map with a slew of world records in the 1990s.
As the deputy director of the Liaoning Provincial Sports Bureau, Ma has refused to release Wang from Liaoning’s sports registry, effectively preventing her from taking up training with different coaches elsewhere in China, the weekly said.
However, Liaoning officials denied this, saying there was no way they could prevent Wang from returning to the track, the paper added.
Wang won the gold medal in the 5,000m at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.