Wang Junxia
Personal information
Born (1973-01-19) January 19, 1973 (age 49)[1]
Jiaohe, Jilin City, China[2]
Height162 cm (5 ft 4 in)[2]
Weight50 kg (110 lb)[2]
SportTrack and Field
Event(s)1500 metres, 3000 metres, 5000 metres, 10000 metres, Marathon
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)1500 metres: 3:51.92[1]
3000 metres: 8:06.11[1]
5000 metres: 14:51.87[1]
10000 metres: 29:31.78[1]
Marathon: 2:24:07[1]

Wang Junxia (simplified Chinese: 王军霞; traditional Chinese: 王軍霞; pinyin: Wáng Jūnxiá; born January 19, 1973) is a Chinese former long-distance runner who is the current world record holder at 3,000 meters. She also held the world record for the 10,000 meters for 23 years, between 1993 and 2016. Her best years lay between 1991 and 1996. Wang was coached by Ma Junren until 1995 and by Mao Dezhen from 1995 to her retirement after the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.


Early years

Born in Jiaohe, Jilin, Wang beat Ethiopian Gete Wami to win the 1992 World Junior Championships in Athletics in 10,000 m (32:29.90) in Seoul, Korea.

1993: Record-setting year

In April 1993, Wang 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 three world records in three races.

On September 8, she won the 10,000 m final in a world record of 29:31.78, which bettered the former record by 42 seconds and was also the first-ever sub-30 minute performance in this event. The 10,000 record would remain on the books as the world record until the 2016 Olympics when it was smashed by Ethiopian Almaz Ayana.

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 (world record at the time) against Wang's 3:51.92. Four years later, Bo Jiang and Yinglai Lang ran slightly faster than Wang in the same race. Qu's record remained on the books until it was finally beaten by Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia when she ran 3:50.07 at the Herculis meet in Monaco on July 15, 2015. Wang is currently fifth on 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 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 to win 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.

1996 Olympics

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. Ribeiro made a heroic final lap kick that surprised Wang and perhaps because she was not used to being challenged, she was unable to react to it. In fact, not only did both women's performances better the previous Olympic record in the 10,000 m, they ran it in such high temperatures that officials were handing out cups of water in the middle of the race, like a marathon. She retired after the Olympics and married Zhan Yu.

After retirement

The Guardian reported in 2001 that Wang was living anonymously in Beijing.[3] In 2008 Wang and her husband Huang Tianwen moved to Denver, Colorado.[4] In 2012, she told the Spanish newspaper El Pais that she was writing her autobiography.[4]

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) listed Wang in its Hall of Fame.[5] Wang was the only Chinese athlete to repeat her 1993 successes at the 1996 Olympics, under Coach Ma, though Qu had managed a bronze medal at the 1992 Olympics. However, there were doping allegations about her 1993 performances. Yuan Weimin, former Director General of the State General Administration of Sports and Chairperson of the Chinese Olympic Committee, had confirmed in 2009 in his book that six athletes by her former coach Ma Junren were dropped from the 2000 Summer Olympics because they were tested positive for doping.[6] Coach Ma was also fired from the Chinese national team in 2000. During the 2012 Summer Olympics, a journalist even lumped Wang and compatriot Qu Yunxia into a group of so-called "chemical sisters".[7][8]

On February 3, 2016, Tencent Sports exclusively published a March 1995 letter reportedly from Wang and nine other athletes under Ma's tutelage. In it, they alleged Coach Ma forced them to dope.[9] Zhao Yu, the investigative author who had received the letter, said Wang and others came forward because Coach Ma had told them to take personal responsibilities, should they get caught. The letter was initially published in 2015 in Zhao's book, but only gained traction in February 2016.[6] The story raised suspicion over the legitimacy of Wang's world records. The IAAF confirmed it had reach out to the Chinese Athletics Association for verification and would investigate, but the latter has yet to respond.[10] The IAAF was expected to discuss a proposal to wipe all pre-2005 world records in August 2017, due to it having only stored blood and urine samples since 2005.[11]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Wang Junxia". International Association of Athletics Federations. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Wang Junxia". Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  3. ^ Duncan Mackay (24 July 2001). "Ma's army on the march again". Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  4. ^ a b Athletics Weekly, 13 December 2012, p 62
  5. ^ "HALL OF FAME PROFILE - WANG JUNXIA (CHINA)". IAAF. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  6. ^ a b "独家-王军霞领衔举报马家军强迫使用兴奋剂". Tencent Sports. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  7. ^ Gatward, Matt (12 August 2016). "British athlete saw Ethiopian runner who smashed 10,000m record 'ill' before race". The Independent.
  8. ^ Dreyer, Mark (13 August 2016). "Wang Junxia stigma removed, but China finds new fall girl". China Sports Insider.
  9. ^ Tatlow, Didi Kirsten (24 February 2016). "Doping Claims Involving Chinese Track Stars Re-emerge, Decades Later". New York Times. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  10. ^ Bloom, Ben (25 February 2016). "Athletics world records blow as Wang Junxia 'admits' being part of Chinese state-sponsored doping regime". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  11. ^ "Athletics: 'Radical' proposal recommends rewriting world records". CNN. 2 May 2017. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
Records Preceded byIngrid Kristiansen Women's 10,000 m World Record Holder September 8, 1993 – August 12, 2016 Succeeded byAlmaz Ayana Preceded byZhang Linli Women's 3000 m World Record Holder September 12, 1993 – Succeeded byIncumbent Awards Preceded byMonica Seles United Press InternationalAthlete of the Year 1993 Succeeded byLe Jingyi Preceded byHeike Drechsler Women's Track & Field Athlete of the Year 1993 Succeeded by Jackie Joyner-Kersee Sporting positions Preceded byYelena Romanova Women's 3000 m Best Year Performance 1993 Succeeded bySonia O'Sullivan