Sat, Aug 06, 2011 - Page 20 News List

China expels speed skater from team for drunken scuffle

AP, BEIJING

China’s Wang Meng celebrates after winning the women’s 500m short-track speed skating Olympic gold medal on Feb. 17 last year in Vancouver.

Photo: AFP

China’s most decorated Winter Olympic athlete has been expelled from the national team for a drunken brawl with an official, throwing the successful short track speed skating program into disarray.

Wang Meng went out drinking and failed to return to the team hotel before a curfew, China’s sports governing body said in a statement released late on Thursday. When she was confronted by the team manager, Wang punched her, it said.

The 26-year-old Wang was expelled from the national team and banned from international competitions because her conduct “has violated the team’s disciplines and jeopardized the sport’s image,” the Chinese General Administration of Sport said in the statement.

Wang, who won three golds at the Vancouver Games last year, and one gold, a silver and a bronze at Turin, Italy, in 2006, had been suspended since the incident during a summer training camp in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao on July 24.

The General Administration of Sport said male speed skater Liu Xianwei also assaulted the team manager and damaged hotel property, and had also been expelled.

The other four squad members — Zhou Yang, Liu Qiuhong, Han Jialiang and Liang Wenhao — were allowed to keep training with the national team.

Xinhua news agency reported that Wang accidentally cut her hands on glass and needed dozens of stitches after the incident.

In a video posted on the Web site of China News Service, an angry Wang, her arms in bandages, was shown amid a throng of reporters at the Winter Sports Management Center on Thursday night.

Xinhua said Wang is famous for her fiery temper and it is not the first time she 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, Xinhua said.

In June, Wang and her teammates reportedly clashed with security guards who accused them of making too much noise during a night out in Lijiang.

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