Ma Ming (马鸣) (not her real name by her request), 55 years old, former head coach of the Hunan province diving team, Xiong Ni’s early coach, formal principal of the Xiong Ni Diving School, National A-class referee, the current National Games diving referee, participated as diving referee in past five national games and also judged in many international diving competitions.
October 9th, Ma Ming suddenly left the current National Games diving referees’ residence, the official reason announced was “because of her heart condition.” October 10th afternoon, Ma Ming told the Herald Union reporter “I left early not only because I was sick, but because I was dissatisfied with the current National Sports Meeting, the dark secret of the diving competitions. All gold medals were actually pre-determined ahead of time!” During the conversation, Ma Ming bluntly revealed who were supposed to “win” the next 4 gold medals: Men’s 3 meter board: He Chong (何冲), women’s 10 meter board double: Wang Hao (汪皓) and Kong Lai (康丽), women’s 3 meter board double: Wu Mingxia (吴敏霞) and Chen Qinqin (陈沁沁), men’s 10 meter platform: Zhou Luxin (周吕鑫).
October 12th afternoon when reporter got in touch with coach Ma again, the National Games diving competition has already ended. What she said two days ago all came true, all 4 gold medals went to the named divers exactly as predicted.
Reporter: The winners of the last 4 gold medals of the National Games diving competition in fact were exactly the same as what you have told us…
Ma Ming: It was per-determined, of course were exactly the same. More importantly, this competition was not only internally pre-determined, but they went too far, even if pre-determined divers made mistakes during the competition, gold medals would still have gone to them. How I felt about this, the referees were sad and pathetic, could not have their own wills.
Reporter: Can you give us an example?
Ma Ming: Men’s 10 meter platform doubles final is an obvious example. The performance of Lin Yue (林跃) and Cao Yuan (曹缘) was clearly poorer than Zhou Luxin (周吕鑫) and Wang Jiankai (王建凯), but they still won first place because it was already determined before the game and could not be changed. Lin Yue strained his stomach so his performance had been mediocre. In the group event they were only ranked sixth. On the day of the final, Lin Yue and Cao Yuan clearly had a bad dive, but their score was higher than Zhou Luxin and Wang Jiankai’s perfect dive with high degrees of difficulty. When they announced the scores, the audiences booed loudly which proved my point. Even the ordinary audiences could see the problems, but the referees could not.
Reporter: Then who decides the winner of the gold medals?
Ma Ming: Zhou Jihong (周继红) (Deputy Director of the National Aquatics Sports Management Center, the head coach of the national diving team). As the highest leader of China’s diving, she not only controls who wins the gold medals, but also determines the lineup of referees, and even their “life and death”.
Reporter: You say these things… do you have any direct evidence?
Ma Ming: I do not have any direct evidence. Because in order for her to rig the gold medal winners, if she had to directly tell each referee, then that meant she had no big influence. What’s frightening was even if (as long as) she revealed a little of her intentions, there were already people taking care of everything for her. This kind of “dark secret” without evidence, to me is more terrifying. As a referee of this year’s games, I more than once heard from other referees: The leader already gave this gold media to so and so. And at present time the only person in China’s diving circle can decide all of this is Zhou Jihong.
Reporter: From what you are saying, as if the team “persuading” their athletes is also normal?
Ma Ming: Generally speaking, some of the teams who have athletes going into the top 3 of the competition “persuade” their athletes (to take certain actions). In fact you can say it is the “hidden rule”. However, as far as I know, most of the time what everyone wanted to express was hoping the athlete from their team in the final not to be deducted points unfairly. They hoped for a fair competition. Although this might sound strange, because sports should always be this way, but actually it is understandable why everyone wants to express their wishes through the leader.
Reporter: We heard from the official source, that you left because of your heart condition…
Ma Ming: October 9th, I indeed had an EKG done, my heart also had some problems. The doctor wrote me a note telling me to rest for three days. But the main reason I left was not because of this, before I left the referee residence I told the head referee Yu Jian (余俭) “You went too far, I am not going along with it!”
Reporter: From the tone, you seemed to not getting along with them?
Ma Ming: probably because I know I would not listen to their orders, I as the national A-class referee, at this age and with qualifications, in the current National games not talking about finals, I didn’t even have a chance to judge the semi-finals. They treated me this way had to do with one thing. In last year’s National Games they deducted points unfairly with Tian Liang (田亮). I made a fair remark that Tian Liang contributed to China’s diving greatly. Tian Liang eventually took the final championship. I heard that Zhou Jihong was angry because of it. There was another thing that made her angry at me. Last year’s women’s 10 meter platform double gold medal was originally determined to give to Li Ting (李婷) and Li Xiao (李娆), but in the end the first place went to Liu Herei (刘贺瑞) and Jiang Lishuang (蒋李双) from our Hunan army team. She said it was the result of my mistakes during refereeing.
Today, I stand up and speak out so much is because I am already retired, so there is nothing to fear about.
Deputy Director of the National Aquatics Sports Management Center, the head coach of the national diving team, Zhou Jihong (周继红) responded to “insider determined gold medals” yesterday.
“Leader Zhou, before the competition media pointed out that the current National games diving competition had no suspense. On October 10th there was an article posted on website “fully” predicted the winners of the 12 gold medals, what do you think about this?” Reporter’s question was straightforward. Zhou Jihong quickly put away a smile and asked reporter a question “which company are you from?” After reporter answered her question, Zhou shouted “Oh”, then sternly replied “This thing, how I see it, no matter if it is international competitions, such as Olympics, world championships and so on, there will always be predictions before the games. It is normal to have these projections.” After the answer, the entire conference was dead silent. This reporter wanted to say something but never followed up. Another reporter eventually asked Zhou Jihong right before the press conference ended “Leader Zhou, How do you see the predictions online were exactly the same as the results of the competition? Were there pre-determining the gold medals?” Zhou Jihong again asked the reporter “where do you work for?” After reporter answered, Zhou Jihong stated “these things do not have basis, I never saw such prediction.” Then she hastily left the conference.
“We understand that one referee from Hunan province left the competition during the National games this year, why did she leave?” After reporter’s repeated requests, Zhou Jihong finally spoke yesterday “This matter was very simple, she had heart problems, because she did not feel well, she decided not to continue the referee work anymore. The organizing committee granted her request.”
Because of Tian Lian (田亮), Zhou Jihong was already famous. If this “hidden rules” were real, then isn’t China’s diving all controlled by her or her group? Were there such dark secrets, why won’t the concerned authorities directly answer?