Ma makes world-class offer to Chan

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 October, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 October, 1994, 12:00am

CHINA'S famed athletics coach Ma Junren says he could turn Hong Kong's Chan Man-yee into a world-class athlete.

Ma, whose 'family army' of women distance runners have taken the world by storm, said the 18-year-old Chan has the potential to be a top runner if she joins his programme.

Chan, who holds the Hong Kong national record in the women's 1,500 and 3,000 metres, will leave the territory early next year after accepting an athletics scholarship with Brigham Young University in Utah.

'She has a lot of potential, but I don't know if she is getting the right training in Hong Kong,' said Ma, who runs a training centre with 300 athletes in Dalian.

'If she trains under me, she has a chance to become a top-class athlete.' Chan has already spent two sessions training with Ma in China after the coach spotted her during a regional meet late last year.

But to join Ma would mean turning her life completely around.

Chan, a Hong Kong Sports Institute scholarship athlete, has also been training with Ma's squad in Hiroshima in preparation for next week's Asian Games track and field competition.

Ma does not expect his athletes to break any world records during the Asian Games, but he is confident they will run away with the gold medals.

He will also unveil his first batch of male runners, who he expects to emulate the feats of his women athletes. 'I have eight men who have been training with me since December last year,' said Ma. 'I think they will do very well.' Ma's training methods have received worldwide publicity, especially the special concoctions that he has reported fed his athletes.

Stories of Chinese runners being fed a potion of turtle blood and caterpillar extract has become legend.

And Ma has already started to market his special brew, called 'Ma Junren Number One'.

'It is already selling well in China and we have introduced it into Japan,' he said. 'It is good for athletes, but the ingredients are secret.'