The alleged letter, first published Wednesday on the Chinese internet portal Tencent and signed by Wang and nine former team-mates, said that she and other athletes were forced by Ma to take in “large doses of illegal drugs over the years.”


A Chinese federation spokesman told dpa Friday they were looking into the issue and would make a statement within the next days.

The IAAF said in a statement the “first action must be to verify that the letter is genuine. In this respect, the IAAF has asked the Chinese Athletics Association to assist it in that process.”

The IAAF said its competition rules allow to strip athletes of a world record if an athlete has admitted that, at some time prior to achieving a world record, he had used or taken advantage of a substance or technique prohibited at that time.”

Wang and her teammates, known as “Ma’s Army” burst onto the scene in 1993, won multiple gold medals at the Stuttgart world championships and then set several world records a few weeks later at an event in Beijing. Wang’s marks over 3,000 and 10,000 metres still stand.

The team was always accused of doping but Ma insisted the fast times and medals were due to hard training and the consumption of turtle blood.

Wang later left Ma’s team and won 5,000m gold and 10,000m silver at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. She retired the following year.

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said that Ma’s runners broke 66 records overall in 1993 alone.

Ma retired at age 60 in 2004, four years after seven of his runners were banned from competing at the Sydney 2000 Olympics after failing drug tests in the run-up, according to CCTV.

The letter was allegedly sent in 1995 to Chinese journalist Zhao Yu, who was investigating the case but not published in his book at the time.

More details emerged when the book was republished in 2014, according to CCTV, but the letter by Wang only became public on Wednesday in the Tencent report.

CCTV spoke of “a whistle-blowing letter” and quoted it as saying: “Our feelings are sorry and complex when exposing his deeds. We are also worried that we would harm our country’s fame and reduce the worth of the gold medals we have worked very hard to get.”

Sporting success carried huge prestige in China at the time, and it appeared that the doping revelations would not have been welcome in the past. The practices are said to have started in earnest in 1991 and Ma himself is said to have administered injections.

Wang smashed the 10,000m world record by 42 seconds at the National Games in Beijing in September 1993 with 29 minutes 31.78 seconds. The time is still 22 seconds faster than anyone else as only four other runners have dipped below 30 minutes.

At the same meet she bettered the 3,000m record twice in as many days to 8:06.11, more than 16 seconds faster than the previous mark. Four team-mates follow in the all-time list with results from those two days, and no other athlete has ever run below 8:20 minutes.

The only world record from the 1993 Beijing days which has been bettered by now is the 3,000m mark, with Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba last year shaving 39 hundredths off Qu Yunxia’s 3:50.46 to now 3:50.07.

Source: GNA


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