ATHLETICS: Ma's secret recipe is a good beating

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The Independent Online

The Chinese coach Ma Junren has admitted that he sometimes beat members of his lite running squad which fell apart last year when the world 10,000 metres champion and record holder, Wang Junxia, led a walk-out after allegations that Ma had stolen team winnings and abused his athletes in brutal training sessions.

"I must admit my management style was too simple sometimes. I would scold them or beat them when they were lazy or disobedient. But I only did it for their own good," Ma said yesterday. "If we are not prepared to suffer bitterness how can we win world championships?"

Ma has sought public sympathy in China by recounting his many recent personal problems. These include the death of his father, a car smash that put him in a wheelchair for a while, and lately, appendicitis.

While admitting he pushed his athletes too far, Ma's defence is his sense of patriotic duty. "I, Ma Junren, have many shortcomings but I have high regard for the glory of my country."

He conceded that an incident in which he hurled Liu Dong's baggage out of a hotel fifth-floor window in a fit of temper was "a mistake".