China's He, three African runners disqualified for Beijing Half Marathon-Xinhua

China's He, three African runners disqualified for Beijing Half Marathon

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-04-19 19:51:30

BEIJING, April 19 (Xinhua) -- Beijing Half Marathon organizers announced on Friday that the four runners who were involved in last Sunday's controversial race finish have been stripped of medals.

Organizers launched an investigation after video clips of Sunday's race showed the Kenyans Robert Keter and Willy Mnangat and Dejene Bikila of Ethiopia deliberately slowed down before the finish line to let China's He Jie win.

The three African runners were invited by Xtep, the official sponsor of the Beijing Half Marathon, to act as He's pace-setters, but were not eligible to compete as elite athletes, the Organizing Committee said in a statement.

"Their trophies, medals and bonuses will be returned," added the statement.

China Olympic Road Running (Beijing) Sports Management Co., Ltd., the race's operator, has been deprived of the rights to run the Beijing Half Marathon, and Xtep has been disqualified as the competition partner.

In response to the decision, a Chinese Athletics Association official told media that the sport's governing body has been keen to ensure the healthy development of road running, which is popular among the country's athletic fans.

"The Chinese Athletics Association will further strengthen the supervision, guidance and services of road running events, and urge regional associations and event organizers to learn lessons from this Beijing Half Marathon and strive to ensure the event's healthy development," said the official, who declined to be named.

The Chinese Athletics Association issued a statement earlier this week vowing to make improvements to the sport in the country.

Around 20,000 runners participated in the Bejing Half Marathon last Sunday.

He, the 2023 Asian Games marathon gold medalist, broke the national record by clocking two hours six minutes 57 seconds in the full marathon last month in Wuxi.