Olympic champ Wang suspended for punching team manager

Updated: 2011-08-01 11:16


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BEIJING - China's short-track speed-skating Olympic champion Wang Meng has been "suspended and ordered to reflect on" her drunken brawl with team manager, China's winter sports administrative center said on Saturday.

Zhao Yinggang, head of China's Winter Sports Administration, confirmed last Friday that the 26-year-old Wang and her national teammate Liu Xianwei, who was also involved in the conflict with team manager Wang Chunlu, were both suspended from training by the Chinese short-track speed-skating team and will face further punishment.

Wang Chunlu told Xinhua Saturday morning that she had left the camp on sick leave approved by the winter sports chief Zhao, saying she was injured in the argument with Wang Meng. Liu Hao, vice-director of the Short-track department of the Winter Sports Administration, will work as the acting team manager during Wang's absence.

According to Zhao, the training suspension is just an interim castigation. And with the investigation going on, a final punishment will be announced soon.

Late on Sunday night, Wang Meng, accompanied with another Olympic gold medalist Zhou Yang, as well as teammates Liu Qiuhong, Liu Xianwei, Han Jialiang and Liang Wenhao, returned to their training camp in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao late and drunk.

A teammate said that the visibly drunk Wang lost her temper after being criticised by Wang Chunlu for failing to return on time to the camp after a night out.

Wang then punched her team manager Wang and smashed up furniture in her dormitory so violently that she cut her hands on glass.

The other four involved team-members including Zhou Yang, Liu Qiuhong, Han Jialiang and Liang Wenhao, were allowed to keep training while reflecting on their wrong-doings. They have also been forced to hand over written introspections as a punishment.

Before announcing the preliminary punishment, the China's Winter Sports Administration released a statement through Xinhua on Thursday to apologize to the public for the impact of the incident.

"The incident jeopardized the image of China's short-track speed-skating team as well as the image of China's winter sports athletes," read the statement. "The incident uncovered the problem of oversight and impatience in our daily management of the team. As the supervisor, the Winter Sports Administration should take the main blame."

It was not the first time that the short-track team and its most decorated star Wang Meng hit the headlines for their inappropriate behaviors.

Earlier this year Wang landed herself in trouble when she and her teammates clashed with security guards who accused them of making too much noise during a night out in the southwestern Chinese city of Lijiang.

Wang Meng is China's most crowned Winter Olympic athlete, after winning three golds at the Vancouver Games last year, and one gold, a silver and a bronze at Turin in 2006.

Wang Chunlu was named the team manager after ending a successful short track speed skating career that won her three world championship golds and a 2002 Olympic bronze.