Star long distance runner Sun Yingjie's doping ban may expire in
October, but her future in the sport remains shrouded in
Athletics officials say they are unable to confirm Sun's
participation in the Beijing Marathon in October, which she won
three years in a row from 2003 to 2005.
"For Sun to join this year's Beijing Marathon, there are two
basic requirements - her ban must be complete and she must be
willing to participate," said Hu Xinmin, director of National Team
Management Department of the Chinese Athletics Administrative
"Since there is still a long time to go before October's event,
it is hard to confirm her return."
Beijing Morning Post quoted athletics officials as saying that
Sun was confirmed for the marathon, something denied by Hu.
"It is hard to say at present that she will definitely take part
in the event," Hu told China Daily. "It is difficult to predict
what will happen in her training ahead of the race."
Sun, 27, tested positive for the banned steroid androsterone
after taking silver at the women's 10,000 meters race at the Tenth
National Games of China in October 2005 - a day after winning the
Beijing marathon where she had passed a doping test.
She won a court case in December 2005 against a runner she
accused of spiking her drink with the substance, but sports
authorities maintained the ban since an athlete must be responsible
for what substances enter their bodies.
Her coach Wang Dexian received a life ban for a second violation
of anti-doping rules.
She is the highest-profile casualty of China's anti-doping
campaign, having clinched bronze in the women's 10,000m at the 2003
World Championships in Paris. She also won two gold medals in
women's 5,000m and 10,000m at the 2002 Asian Games.
Due to the ban, Sun was ejected from the national team leaving
her to seek supervised training.
"I don't know about Sun's training at the moment, so I don't
know whether she is in competition shape," said Hu. "Even if Sun
could participate in the marathon, it is hard to predict the result
right now. It depends on her efforts in training and her form at
the time. In competitive sports only real power counts."
According to local media, Sun is now training with new coach Tao
Shaoming at the Haigeng training base in Southwest China's Yunnan
(China Daily January 12, 2007)