China’s Gold Medal Exports
Created: 2012-08-03 14:36 EST
Kazakh weightlifters Maiya Maneza and Zulifya Chinshanlo have been garnering a great deal attention lately. Maneza won gold in the 63-kilogram class and Chinshanlo set a world record for women’s weightlifting in the 53-kilogram category, both during the London Olympics.
The two are of the Dungan ethnic group, and according to China’s state-run media, they are also originally Chinese. Maneza’s Chinese name is Yao Li and Zulifya Chinshanlo is known as Zhao Changling. According to state media outlet Chinese Business Morning News, the two were recruited by a Kazakh envoy in China looking for female weight-lifters with high potential.
In a report from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the coach of Kazakhstan’s weight-lifting team corroborates their Chinese origins.
To compete for Kazakhstan, Chinshanlo and Maneza have to be citizens there, and state-run Liberation Daily seems to suggest that the two athletes are more on loan, saying that they’re part of a state initiative called the “Wolf Plan.” Under the “Wolf Plan”, Chinese athletes are sent to other countries and foreign athletes are invited in to foster an environment of greater competition, and reduce Chinese dominance in certain sports.
However, a former coach from the University of Nanjing, Ju Bin has a more sinister take on the environment that the Wolf Plan creates.
[Ju Bin, Former University of Nanjing Coach]:“The system itself is defective, manipulated. You keep the athletes you want,while give away those you think have no potential. The unwanted ones would go to otherplaces, and some went abroad.”
State-run Chinese Business Morning News goes so far as to report that the Kazakh envoys originally wanted another weightlifter, Deng Jianying instead of Maiya Maneza.
However, Deng was already a recordbreaker, and the Chinese were hesitant to send her over. But now that Maneza and Chinshanlo are gold medallists, China seems to be claiming them as their own. Chinshanlo is reportedly on a five-year contract in Kazakhstan, and has the opportunity to return to China, if she so chooses.