Controversy in Beijing Half-Marathon: Chinese Athlete's Victory Revoked!!

  • by:
  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 04/21/2024
He Jie, a well-known Chinese athlete, lost his victory in the Beijing half-marathon on Friday. An inquiry revealed that the three African competitors who ran with him had “actively slowed down” to allow him to cross the finish line first on April 14.

In 1 hour, 3 minutes, and 44 seconds, he won the 21-kilometer race in the capital, falling 107 seconds shy of the national record for men's half-marathon. He was one second ahead of Ethiopian athlete Dejene Hailu Bikila and Kenyan runners Willy Mnangat and Robert Keter, who had been setting the pace for him.

However, the victory—which was widely publicized online with clips—was looked into after it was widely suspected of being rigged; local media even went so far as to say that it was a blow to the standing of Chinese marathons.

In an earlier interview with the BBC, Mnangat said that He was a friend of his and that the three African runners were acting as pacesetters for He rather than competing. However, the committee said that pacesetters would not have been permitted to compete as athletes who were particularly invited without permission from the organizers.

The committee made the decision to return all of the trio's and He is awards, medals, and bonuses. The commission also said that the Chinese Athletics Association would receive a report on the four athletes.

The race's primary organizer, Zhongao Lupao Beijing Sports Management business, apologized, claiming that its partner Xiamen Xtep Investment neglected to notify the organizing committee about the pacers. This will automatically disqualify the corporation from organizing and running the Beijing half marathon.

The committee also said that Xtep would no longer be an event partner, that they must issue an apology to the public, and that they must deal with the people who caused the incident. "We bear great responsibility for this and fully accept the penalties imposed by the organizing committee," Xtep said in its apologies on Friday.

In the men's marathon in the postponed Asian Games in 2023, he had already won the gold medal. In addition, he now owns the national record for the whole marathon, having run 2 hours, 6 minutes, and 57 seconds in Wuxi on March 24. Yet, Chinese sports commentator Mark Dreyer previously said to TIME that He is other accomplishments are "undermined" by the Beijing half-marathon event.


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