Qing Wenyi, 17, Dies On Camp As Chinese Swim Sources Raise Alarm Over Zhou Ming

Qing Wenyi, left (in glasses), with a teammate in Fuzhou [TV still]

China swim community calls WADA to knock at its door and ask about rogue coach Zhou Ming and two boys who missed a meet as the sport is rocked by the death of a 17-year-old swimmer: Qing Wenyi won the girl’s 100 and 200 breaststroke titles at the China Youth Games last month – yesterday she died soon after screaming out and waking roommates in a dormitory on national-team camp in Beijing

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China swim community calls WADA to knock at its door and ask about rogue coach Zhou Ming and two boys who missed a meet as the sport is rocked by the death of a 17-year-old swimmer: Qing Wenyi won the girl’s 100 and 200 breaststroke titles at the China Youth Games last month – yesterday she died soon after screaming out and waking roommates in a dormitory on national-team camp in Beijing


clive rushton

About five hours ago I posted this on another SwimVortex article:

“And I am sure there will be much darker, murkier, dirty, nasty swimming secrets that raise their ugly, festering heads over the next few months but they are festering sores which are better exposed so they can be disinfected rather than hidden to continue their insidious and toxic infiltration throughout the organism that is our sport.”

This was not what I had in mind. Good grief. It is surely the responsibility of the Chinese government to ascertain the exact cause of death of this poor girl.

I met Zhou Ming in the 1990’s. He described the ability of his swimmers to deal with ‘super-loading’ (my phrase, not his) as being due to “special measures.” Special measures indeed.

So sad.


Everything and everybody will die eventually, but I hope such a sudden tragic circumstances that happened to this poor girl will not happen to other Chinese swimmers such as Sun Yang who has serious heart condition and whose critical medication TMZ has been disallowed.


Doping develops cardiac disorders…
Wake up, aswimfan.


Deeply concerning on both fronts; one’s thoughts are with her parents and one would hope that they will inevitably find out the whole truth. The return of Zhou Ming is worrying although the presence of the “syndicates” is no real surprise.

ASW; just what ARE the facts with regards to Sun Yang ? Just what documented proof has been put forward and what independent experts (if any) have been able to examine them ? A career in the events that he pursues and THAT medication just do not add up.


My condolences to Qing’s family and friends.

How do you not conduct an autopsy when a seemingly healthy young person just drops dead? It’s not just for the sake of the family but also to understand how to better screen for such conditions going forward in the population.

Contrast this to the very thorough investigation into Alex Dale Oen’s early death.


Mr. Bjarnasson,
I was just being polite, mindful and not accusatory.


The poor girl, how awful. I can’t imagine what her family must be going through. Surely we owe it to them to demand some answers.


All to similar to what the Germans were doing to those girls back in the 70s….very sad and Roy, hence my comment on a previous article when I stated that I cannot trust any times by Chinese teenagers. You get my point now? I hope this tragic incident uncovers the truth and that the people responsible for this death suffer the consequences.

Lennart van Haaften

That’s horrible news.


It is so sad to look at this innocent open smile of the child and realize that nothing more will happen in her life. If she was drugged as many imply here then it is terrible, if she had preexisting conditions known by officials and parents then it is even more evil. That may explain parent’s position against autopsy.


This is the problem, the chinese are laws unto themselves, there has got to be a full investigation into her death, how can things change when there is so much corruption and cover ups!


I do think that the Chinese sports machine in its present form is not sustainable in the long run. As families get richer under a constantly improving Chinese economy, they are going to be able to see a far better future for their 1.2 children than putting them into a machine that views them as common parts that are easy enough to throw away when they break.

I would not be surprised if the bulk of the kids who get sucked into the ‘sport boarding kindergarten’ system already skew toward coming from poorer rural areas rather than the more affluent urban realms of the Little Emperors and Little Empresses.

Sadly, any such changes to make the machine more human are too late for Qing.


I find it premature to link this tragic death to doping. It could have nothing to do with her being a swimmer. Correlation is not causation, gents.

Craig Lord

Quite so, Therealuigi … but if they are serious about letting this pass without an autopsy then the assumptions will be heavier in favour of thinking the worst than they would be in the case of proper investigation and a coroner’s report backed by autopsy. That a 17-year-old could die in such circumstances without a legal entity saying or being able to say, with respect to any parental wishes, ‘sorry but this is a case where an autopsy is definitively required … unless you can tell us the medical cause of death without an autopsy, signed by doctors at the scene of her death’ is truly alien to what one would expect in Europe and many other parts of the world, for example. It will be interesting to see if the ‘no autopsy’ holds.


Of, and it’s a big if, it turns out this young lady passed away as a result of doping enduced complications, somebody needs to be held accountable. It would suggest she’d been ‘doping’ long before her 16th birthday, therefore as a minor, and no minor actively pursues illegal substances to enhance their performance.

To clarify, that is one of many possible scenarios and I am not suggesting doping was involved in this young lady’s death. It was just a response to the suggestions by comments above.

I hope the ‘suits’ in China find the compassion & respect this lady and her family deserve and order a full and open autopsy to determine what really happened.

Condolences to all who knew her, RIP.


It’s hard to believe the parents of an apparently healthy 17 year old do not wish to know how their child died. I suspect they have asked for an autopsy but under pressure from the authorities they have agreed to keep quiet about the results.

Craig Lord

Whether that is the case or not, longstroke, the legal process and the coroner should step in: when a child dies on a sports camp – & a national youth champion and part of the count of those registered as national teamsters – after collapsing in the middle of the night in an environment with doctors, coaches and other ‘guardians’ present and working with her every day, it is inconceivable in just about all, if not all, major swim nations that legal system and standard procedure would be anything other that an autopsy followed by a coroner’s report. And depending on the result of that there would have to be an inquiry. To my mind, the Chinese Swimming Association (and the authorities directly responsible for the camp and facilities and environment in which Qing Wenyi was in) should be pressing for an autopsy and report; it needs to know how and why if it is to uphold its responsibility to the girl who was a member of its organisation and to the many others who may benefit from the information and knowledge that could flow from such an inquiry, regardless of the spectrum of possibilities and causes in the case.


Dee, it is not a big if. Fit 17 year olds don’t just drop dead.


Felix, Personally I was just showing a little rectitude to the entire situation and those involved. Right now, I wouldn’t feel right throwing around accusation or casting aspersions as, from my position, they would be entirely baseless and relying on unsubstantiated ‘evidence’ or hearsay.


“Fit 17 year olds don’t just drop dead”.
That must be the mother of all tautologies.

Dear Felix, the point is not whether or not the girl was fit (obviously, not) but what was the cause of her death.

If the long jump to conclusions was an Olympic event, I would see gold medal potential in some of the posters above … 😀


Totally agree, Therea. We do not KNOW the cause of death or what underlying medical issues this young swimmer may have had. It is her age, and what appears to the circumstances, that would in most societies trigger at least some level of coronial enquiry.

Craig Lord

That last thought, Commonwombat, is an interesting one. The thing is, here: yes, we are talking about a Chinese girl and in China – clear jurisdiction. We are also talking about a member of the CSA, thus member of FINA by association and a girl preparing for international competition in a specific sports environment. If there is no autopsy, we learn nothing about what caused Qing’s death … but we would be reminded that in sport, China is a law unto itself and one that apparently cares little for what the rest of the world might think, even when a 17-year-old National Youth champion and national senior championships finalist in one of the top 3 nations in world swimming dies in the night. I sincerely hope that there are those at the CSA and in Chinese sport who understand that and do something about it, starting with a call for an autopsy, if only to clear (or call to account) all those in whose guardianship this swimmer was to be found when she screamed out in the night and died soon after.


I’ve actually had a seemingly fit 17 year old drop dead about 10-15 feet away from me- a brain aneurysm that, by accounts from people who knew her well, was essentially asymptomatic.

You’re never going to be able to catch 100% of those kinds of sad events but you can figure out how to develop protocols that look for specific signs of the impending events and reduce that sudden death rate in a meaningful way. And a proper autopsy is one of the ways you learn and develop your protocols.

Craig Lord

Just so, beachmouse.


Roy you answered your own question in your last comment. They don’t want to do one because they don’t want to show the cause of death nor illustrate the risks involved……I will say no more. Why your constantly defending Sun is beyond me as well. Who are you Roy, maybe I will bump into you late at night at a dark bar and Il buy you a drink as long as you promise not to mention Sun or Ledecky 😉 if you do the rest are on you


As Ning zetao’s teammate ,Wang lizhuo is a swimmer of Navy swimming team.

Craig Lord

Yes, yishengsheng (happy to make that clear in the article) – the report is about speculation on the deck in Fuzhou and the deep concerns therein. It is suggested that Ming with working with swimmers outside his immediate program. We cannot know the truth of that until China becomes more open and engages, starting with leading figures in the CSA. It would be very easy for them to make contact and say ‘not so, here is the truth’… same thing on Qing’s sad death: it would be very easy for sports authorities to say ‘no, in this case, very sorry but there must be an autopsy – we need to know’. I look forward to hearing that very thing. If you see that happen in the China media, please let us know.
It would also be helpful to know: where was Wang’s childhood program? Who was his coach before he raced for Navy? There is no record of him at 14 and under in terms of international results and results that make international rankings.

Tabo To

Craig, as far as I read the news from the China media, the farewell ceremony of Qing was conducted and her body was then cremated in 11 Nov. It seemed that no autopsy had been done before cremation.

Craig Lord

Thank you for letting us know, Tabo To. That is tragic. We will never know how this child died, even though someone probably has a good idea.


“I just hope nothing happens to sun yang. I know he is paranoid and may not be taking any medication.”
Roy, you have repeated this sentence over and over and now have managed to slip it into a conversation that had nothing to do with Sun Yang. What are you getting at? This is not kindergarten; if you are trying to pass the subliminal message that Sun Yang’s doping scandal was all about his health, or than any future scandal will be about his health, just be informed that you are getting nowhere.

On the death of the poor Qing Wenyi, I will say this and then will shut up. The fact that her parents did not ask for an autopsy does not necessarily mean that they were intimidated by someone. The obsession with wanting to know why someone passed, and who or what is to blame, is typically Western. And I personally know of at least one young couple who chose not to have autopsy on their prematurely dead child although they had reasons to suspect that his death might be partially blamed on the institution where he had been hospitalized, because they could not stand the thought of the child’s body being ripped open. They chose to let go, bury him and accept what had happened.

Craig Lord

I know of such cases, too, Therea and quite right to note that aspect of the sorrow inherent in the death of children. In the case of a national champion on official camp in elite sport in a nation with a very bad doping past, all, with respect to any parental wishes, regardless of whether they were or were nor coerced, should have pressed for autopsy and inquiry, in my view. I am aware of all sorts of contracts and agreements that come with being a member of national teams and elite programs the world over. It seems to me that child protection and a commitment to proper inquiry in the event of tragedy are just as valid as all and any of those other clauses that folk and their parents sign up to, including commitments to anti-doping and all that links that to welfare of the athlete.


In another news, Russia has been given punishment.

Let’s see how many medals they will win in Rio.

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