The 1996 Olympic gold medal of Chinese athlete Wang Junxia could be in doubt after she reportedly confessed to state-sanctioned doping.
A Chinese Olympic gold medallist and world record holder has reportedly confessed that her coach forced them to take part in state-sanctioned doping.
Wang Junxia, who is still the world record holder in the women's 3,000m and 10,000m races, has signed a letter published online in China on Friday saying that she and nine other athletes training under coach Ma Junren were forced to take banned substances.
Wang allegedly signed the letter in 1995, a year before she won a gold medal in the 5,000m at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
The IAAF says it is investigating the authenticity of the letter, which also alleges that Ma was physically and verbally abusive towards his athletes, and injected them with the illegal drugs personally.
Wang's records could be annulled if the former Olympic and world champion has admitted to doping before setting the marks in 1993.
"It's all true that Coach Ma had beaten, verbally abused and mistreated us for years," said the letter, dated March 28, 1995. "It's also true that he had coaxed or forced us into using large quantities of banned drugs.
"His crimes must be revealed because we don't want to see the same thing to happen to the next generation.
"Such inhumane tortures have brought us to the brink of a complete collapse."
The IAAF says it only became aware of the allegations when contacted by Chinese media, and has asked the Chinese Athletics Association to assist with an investigation to verify if the letter is genuine.
Ma and his team were considered national heroes in China for winning medals and setting world records.