Athletics: Mu is Ma's new man

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MA JUNREN has worked his coaching magic again, turning a previously discarded middle-distance runner into a Chinese record holder in a little more than two months.

Following the record-shattering success of Ma's women's team, Mu Weiguo took more than a second off the national 800 metres record on Wednesday, finishing in 1min 47.14sec.

The 22-year-old Mu, who lost his place in the Liaoning provincial team at the end of last year after a string of mediocre performances, was forced to return to his job as a railway worker.

Mu approached Ma and was taken on as the first male member of the track squad who stunned the athletics world last year when they took seconds off the women's world records at 1,500m, 3,000m and 10,000m.

After 68 days of personal tutelage, which included copious quantities of Ma's secret brew that has fresh turtle's blood as its main ingredient, Mu turned in his record- breaking performance.