Olympic champ Wang expelled from national team
Updated: 2011-08-05 09:41
Wang Meng is pictured after receiving stitches following a drunken brawl during the team's training camp in Qingdao, July 24 file photo. [Photo/Xinhua]
* Wang Meng expelled for the second time, four other athlets to quit
BEIJING - Four-time Winter Olympic champion Wang Meng was expelled from the Chinese national short track speed skating team after a drunken brawl with team manager, announced the country's sports governing body on Thursday evening.
"Wang Meng is expelled from the national team and is banned from international competitions as her conduct has violated the team's disciplines and jeopardized the sport's image," read a statement released late Thursday by China's General Administration of Sport.
Wang, 26, had been earlier suspended under an interim castigation following an incident at a training camp based in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao on July 24.
The most decorated Winter Olympic athlete of China punched her team manager Wang Chunlu after being criticized for failing to return on time to the camp after a night out with five other teammates.
Also expelled was male speed skater Liu Xianwei, who was alleged to have stirred things up before the argument between Wang Meng and Wang Chunlu turned physical.
Four other squad members involved, including Zhou Yang, Liu Qiuhong, Han Jialiang and Liang Wenhao, were allowed to keep training with the national team, but would have to write confessions.
An image of Wang Meng's Weibo at qq.com on Aug 5 shows her apology to fans. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]
Other skaters quit the national team in protest, saying that the general administration's decision to expel Wang Meng without any punishment to Wang Chunlu is unfair.
"I don't think Zhou Yang's quitting is a reasonable action after rational thoughts," Zhao Yinggang, the director of China's winter sports administrative center, commented. "As you know, Zhou is very close to Wang Meng."
Famous for her fiery temper, Wang Meng, who was sent to hospital to get stitched up after smashing furniture in her dormitory following the brawl, was said to be visibly drunk at the time of the incident.
The team's two-month summer training was thus cut short and all the athletes have returned to Beijing. Wang Chunlu is on sick leave approved by Zhao Yinggang.
This is not the first time that Wang Meng has landed herself in trouble.She was expelled from the national team for six months in 2007 after criticizing her coach's tactics at the Asian Winter Games.
Earlier in June this year, Wang again hit the headlines after 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.
Short track speed-skating star Wang Meng celebrates after winning the Best Female athlete of the Year award during the 2010 CCTV sports personality awarding ceremony in Beijing, Jan 16, 2010. [Photo/Xinhua]
Wang Meng is China's most crowned Winter Olympic athlete, winning three gold medals at the Vancouver Games last year and one gold, one silver and one bronze in Turin 2006.
Last year, Wang Meng defeated tennis star Li Na - winner of this year's French open - to the title of the female athlete of the year.
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.