Chinese half-marathon runner’s win revoked after investigation

Chinese half-marathon runner’s win revoked after investigationChinese half-marathon runner’s win revoked after investigation
via X/@whyyoutouzhele
Michelle De Pacina
24 days ago
Chinese runner He Jie’s first-place victory in the Beijing Half Marathon was revoked after an investigation revealed that three other runners deliberately slowed down to let him win.
Key points:
  • The investigation confirmed that African runners Willy Mnangat, Robert Keter and Dejene Hailu purposely let He win the race.
  • The African runners were revealed to have been hired by a sponsor as pacesetters. 
  • All four runners were disqualified, stripped of their medals and had to return their prize money. 
Catch up:
  • The controversy arose as viral footage from the race showed the trio gesturing for He to pass them near the finish line, seemingly indicating a coordinated effort to help the 25-year-old Chinese runner win.
  • He finished with a time of one hour, three minutes and 44 seconds, which was one minute and 11 seconds short of the record he was aiming for. Official records showed that Hailu, Keter and Mnangat finished in second, third and fourth place, respectively.
  • Mnangat previoiusly stated that he allowed He to win due to their friendship and their previous collaboration in the Wuxi Marathon. The Kenyan runner later clarified that they were hired as pacemakers to assist He in achieving the national record.
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The details:
  • “I was not there to compete,” Mnangat was quoted saying. “My job was to set the pace and help the guy win but unfortunately he did not achieve the target, which was to break the national record.”
  • A special committee admitted that four runners were originally hired as pacesetters by Chinese sports company Xtep, which sponsored both He and the Beijing Half Marathon. However, the main organizers of the race were unaware of these pacemakers.
  • “We deeply and sincerely apologize to the world and to every part of society that we did not discover and correct the mistakes in time at this race,” the committee stated.
  • Zhong’ao Lupao Sports Management, the race’s main organizer, has lost its right to host the Beijing Half Marathon as a penalty. Xtep was also banned from sponsoring any more races this season.
  • In a statement, Xtep said they “fully accept the punishment decision made by the organizing committee,” vowing to “reflect seriously and conduct a deep review” to “ensure such incidents do not happen again in the future.”
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