Ban lifted on China's top winter Olympian

China's most decorated winter Olympian is to return to competition after she was dropped from the national team following a drunken brawl with its manager, a sports official told AFP Wednesday.

Speed skater Wang Meng, who won four gold medals, was banned 13 months ago after fighting with her team manager when she was admonished for returning late to a training camp following a night out drinking.

"We can confirm that Wang Meng's ban has been lifted and she is now available for competition," an official from the General Administration of Sport told AFP.

The lifting of the ban means the 27-year-old will be able to compete at the next Winter Games in the Russian city of Sochi in 2014, in a bid to add to her tally of six Olympic medals -- four golds, a silver and a bronze.

The former Chinese athlete of the year has had several run-ins with sporting authorities in the country.

In 2007 she was expelled from the speed-skating team for six months after criticising the tactics of her coach at the Asian Winter Games.

Last year, before her suspension in August, Wang hit the headlines after she and her team-mates clashed with security guards who accused them of making too much noise during a night out.

But Wang, who is known for her often dyed-red hair as well as her outspoken character, said she had turned a corner following the suspension.

"If I can train hard, I am sure I can make all those who supported me proud," she said in an interview published on the official website of the Chinese Olympic Committee.

"I do not need to prove anything to myself when I am standing on the ice rink again. But at that moment I can say thank you to everyone who helped. I did not fall. I'm back, and appearing in front of us all is a new, mature me."

Wang became China's first female athlete to win three golds at the same Olympics at the Vancouver Games in 2010.

In 2010 she beat tennis star Li Na -- winner of last year's French open -- to the title of female athlete of the year.

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