08 MAR 2012 General News

Hall of Fame Profile - Wang Junxia (China)

IAAF Hall of Fame - Wang Junxia (CHN) (Getty Images)IAAF Hall of Fame - Wang Junxia (CHN) (Getty Images) © Copyright

Wang Junxia was perhaps the most famous member of 'Ma's Army', the group of Chinese female distance runners coached by Ma Junren.

She first came to prominence in April 1993 when she set an Asian marathon record of 2:24.07 in Tianjin before switching her attention to the track and winning the 10,000m at the 1993 IAAF World Championships in Stuttgart.

However, Wang transcended even that notable achievement a few weeks later with a series of remarkable performances on home soil at the Chinese National Games in Beijing.

On 8 September, she took almost 42 seconds off the existing 10,000m world record with a run of 29:31.78. In the subsequent two decades, no one has got within 22 seconds of that time.

Three days later, Wang finished second in the 1500m to Qu Yunxia in 3:51.92, which was inside the 13-year-old world record for the distance; with Qu setting a world record of 3:50.46 which still stands today.

On the following two days, Wang then ran successive 3000m world records of 8:12.29 and 8:06.11 in the heats and final of that event.

In 1994 and 1995, she struggled with a hip injury brought on by her arduous training regime but in 1996 Wang returned to the top again when she was victorious in the 5000m at that summer's Olympic Games, becoming China's first Olympic gold medallist on the track. She also won the 10,000m silver medal in Atlanta.

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