Ma's new model army

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The Independent Online
Ma's new model army

A new group of women athletes trained by the controversial Chinese coach Ma Junren scored a surprise victory in an international relay marathon in Peking yesterday. The Xinhua news agency reported that the six-strong team completed the 42.195km course around the Chinese capital in two hours 15min 48sec, with Romania second and the defending champions Japan third. Ma is rebuilding his once-formidable team, the "Ma's Family Army", which took women's athletics by storm in 1993. The team broke up the following year when several members mutinied in the face of his coaching methods. But Ma played down the achievement of his new recruits. "I don't think there's anything to be happy about," he said. "The athletes' results are normal."

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