Prizes canceled for He Jie, three African runners suspected of cheating

2024-04-19 Editor : Zhao Li ECNS App Download

(ECNS) -- The Beijing Half Marathon Organizing Committee announced on Friday to cancel the competition results of He Jie, Willy Mnangat, Dejene Bikila, and Robert Keter.

The 21-kilometer (13-mile) race on Sunday aroused suspicions after the African trio appeared to let Chinese runner He overtake them meters from the finish line. He crossed the finish line in 1:03:44 to claim first prize, with the trio a second behind in joint-second place. Many netizens subsequently called the race a "joke" and "performance."

“According to the rules, in addition to self-registered athletes, the events can invite athletes and pacers, but pacers may not participate in the race under the identity of athletes without approval,” the committee said.

The committee introduced that Sunday’s marathon event has invited 28 domestic and foreign athletes to participate, including He and four foreign pacers. However, XTEP company, the sponsor of the event, did not mark the pacers they recommended, which caused China Olympic Road Running, one of the undertakers, to fail to report the pacers to the organizing committee, resulting in the registration of the four pacers as athletes.

At the 4-kilometer mark, one foreign pacer dropped out on his own, while the other three continued pacing, slowing down voluntarily in the last 2 kilometers to let He win, according to the committee.

The trophies, medals, and prize money of the four involved were all revoked, and their actions have been reported to the Chinese Athletics Association, the committee said.

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