Speed-skating star badly hurt in team brawl

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 July, 2011, 12:00am


China's speed-skating world championship team got involved in an internal 'conflict' during a training session in Qingdao on Sunday that resulted in four-time Winter Olympics gold medallist Wang Meng being injured 'pretty bad' and sent to hospital.

Wang and several of her teammates were in the fight and both Wang and the team's general manager, Wang Chunlu, were injured, according to a Xinhua report yesterday.

It did not give any details of the dispute but said that the General Administration of Sport of China is investigating the incident. Neither the cause of the row nor the number of people involved in it has been revealed.

A report by the Changchun Evening News said yesterday that at least one other athlete, Wang Meng's teammate Liu Xianwei, was involved in a fight with Wang Chunlu and other coaches.

It said Wang Meng suffered a serious injury.

The report said Zhao Yinggang, director of GASC's Winter Sports Management Centre, and deputy director Lan Li, arrived in Qingdao on Monday and asked the team not to mention the conflict on their microblogs.

But sources told the paper that Zhao and Lan criticised the management abilities of chief coach Li Yan, Wang Chunlu, and other coaches.

It was the second conflict involving the world championship team in less than two months, after a clash between the team and police in the tourist town of Lijiang, Yunnan province, early last month made headlines.

Wang Meng and several other athletes claimed that they were beaten up by 30 local security guards and police officers.

But police said they were responding to complaints from residents that the athletes were making too much noise after 11.30pm.

A report in New Express quoted Wang Meng as saying: 'Do you know I am a People's Congress deputy? Do you know we are world champions?' in the skirmish in Lijiang.

The GASC and the stadium in Qingdao where the team was training could not be reached for comment last night.