On Wednesday, Chinese media dished out the dirt on a case of athlete doping dating back 21 years. In a letter written in 1995, long-distance world-record holder Wang Junxia reveals that coach Ma Junren forced her and her teammates to take dangerous amounts of illicit narcotics under his care.
Wang’s whistle-blowing letter, signed by nine other teammates, was originally addressed to a reporter named reporter Zhao Yu in March of 1995. Although Zhao had been investigating the case during the ’90s, the letter apparently only just resurfaced for the public eye on Wednesday, CCTV reports.
In the document, Wang accuses Ma of abuse, claiming that he forced “large doses of illegal drugs over the years” on his female athletes.
“In exposing his deeds, we feel heartbroken and conflicted. We are also worried that we will harm our country’s reputation and reduce the worth of the gold medals that we have worked very hard to get,” expressed Ma’s team.
According to the letter, Ma forced the women to ingest stimulants in quantities exceeding the recommended amount, leading to such effects as liver pain and ceasing of menstruation.
Being forbidden from going to hospital, the suffering team members took to discarding the pills behind Ma’s back. Nonetheless, they were still subject to injections of the stimulants, which Ma personally carried out regularly.
Ma’s team was known for their record-breaking victories and Wang in particular. She shattered the world record in the women’s 10,000 meter by 42 seconds at the 1993 Chinese National Games. She also has one gold and one silver Olympic medals.
Other distance runners under Ma’s coaching made a mark at the World Championships in Athletics in Germany with world titles in women’s 1500-10,000 meter events. In 1993 alone, Ma’s team raised suspicion by breaking 68 domestic and world records.
Previously in the case, the former head of China’s General Administration of Sport, Yuan Weimin, published a memoir in 2009 revealing that certain track team members were banned from the 2000 Sydney Olympics after failing a drug test.
No comment has emerged from either Wang or Ma, both of whom are long retired.
[Images via CCTV]