Wang Junxia

Wang Junxia

Wang Junxia (Chinese:王军霞, born January 19, 1973) is a Chinese former long-distance runner.


Born in Jiaohe, Jilin Province, she was coached by Ma Junren until 1995 and by Mao Dezhen from 1995 to her retirement after 1996 Olympics.

Her best years laid between 1992 and 1996. In 1992, she beat Ethiopian Gete Wami to win the world junior champion in 10,000 m (32:29.90) in Seoul, Korea. The golden but short glory came in 1993. In April, She set a world-leading time and former Asian best in marathon (2:24:07). In May, she broke the Asian record of 3000 m in a fast time of 8:27.68 in the Chinese National Championships. In August, Chinese women distance runners under coach Ma Junren stunned the world and swept the world titles from 1500 m to 10,000 m in Stuttgart, Germany. Wang claimed the world title in 10,000 m (30:49.30) although she was sick before the race. In less than a month, she went on to win the 3000 m and 10,000 m in Chinese National Games with 3 world records in 3 races. On September 8, she won the 10,000 m final in a world record of 29:31.78 which is faster than the former record by 42 seconds and also the first-ever sub-30 minute performance in this event. On September 11, She finished second in 1500 m behind her teammate, Qu Yunxia in another world record breaking race. Qu ran 3:50.46 (current world record) against Wang's 3:51.92, which still stands fourth in the all-time list. In 3000 m heats on September 12, Wang's teammates broke the 3000 m world record in the first heat. This world record was just briefly held when it was erased by Wang in the second heat. The next day when she claimed the 3000 m in another record time 8:06.11. She also won the World Cup Marathon Championships later in the year.

In 1994, she was awarded the Jesse Owens prize on the remarkable performances in 1993. She was the first and only Chinese and Asian person who won the prize. Although she won the Asian Games in 10,000 m with a world-leading time (30:50.34) later in the year in Hiroshima, her world-record breaking form was obviously gone. In 1995, Wang and her teammates broke up with their coach Ma due to prize money and his harsh coaching style. After a short period of training on their own without a major success, Wang started to train under coach Mao Dezhen to prepare for the 1996 Olympics. In Nanjing, she announced a comeback in the Olympics Trials where she ran quality times in both 5000 m and 10,000 m.

At the 1996 Summer Olympics, Wang won the new Olympic event, women's 5000 m (14:59.88) and a silver in the 10,000 m (31:02.58) just a second behind Portuguese Fernanda Ribeiro. She retired after the Olympics and married Zhan Yu.


Her coach Ma Junren claims that the fungus Cordyceps sinensis helps her physical condition. There was significant controversy claiming illegal performance enhancing drugs must have been used by the Chinese team. It was claimed the Chinese team did not submit to the requested random drug testing. Prior to the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney, 6 athletes coached by Ma Junren were tested positive for performance enhancing drugs, resulting in both their and Ma Junren's expulsion from the Chinese team.

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