Beijing Half Marathon Organisers Investigating the Controversial Finish

Sunday’s Beijing Half Marathon ended in controversy as footage showed three African runners allowing China’s He Jie to win. He crossed the finish line just one second ahead of his closest competitors, Ethiopian Dejene Hailu Bikila and Kenyans Robert Keter and Willy Mnangat.

Beijing Half Marathon Organisers Investigating the Controversial Finish

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Video clips captured the final moments of the race where the African runners appeared to slow down and gesture for He Jie to take the lead. All four athletes had run together throughout the entirety of the 21-kilometer race.

The African runners’ actions near the finish line has increased speculation about the integrity of the competition.

He Jie, a member of China’s marathon team and record holder in the event secured victory with a time of 1:03:44. His win by the actions of the African runners has been criticized from both local and international audiences.

The Beijing Sports Competition Management and International Exchange Center, the event’s organizer has launched an investigation into the matter.

The Beijing Sports Bureau is conducting its own inquiry to ascertain the facts surrounding the controversial finish.

Chinese social media platforms particularly Weibo have been flooded with discussions about the race. Many users have criticized the lack of sportsmanship displayed by the African runners, labeling the outcome as embarrassing for He Jie.

While He Jie has refrained from commenting directly on the controversy, he has expressed his focus on preparing for the upcoming Paris 2024 Summer Olympics.

He aims to showcase Chinese athletic prowess on the global stage. The silence of the African runners involved leaves unanswered questions about their motives and intentions.

The footage captured during the final stretch of the race showed the three African runners running together, slowing down intentionally.

Mnangat can be seen extending his arm, gesturing for the others to let He pass. He crossed the finish line first, securing victory with a time of 1:03:44, while the other three finished with a time of 1:03:45.

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The Beijing Sports Bureau and the event’s organizer, the Beijing Sports Competition Management and International Exchange Center, have initiated investigations into the matter. World Athletics has also expressed awareness of the situation.

He Jie, the Chinese runner who won, attributed his win to personal goals and preparation for the upcoming Paris 2024 Summer Olympics.

Mnangat, one of the African runners involved, admitted to letting He win, citing their friendship as the reason for his actions. He denied receiving any financial incentive for his decision.

Chinese sports expert Mark Dreyer criticized the incident, stating that such actions are not acceptable at the elite level of competition.

He addressed the damage to the integrity of the sport and the undermining of He Jie’s previous achievements.

Dreyer speculated on possible motivations behind the African runners’ actions including guaranteed race fees or bonuses for letting a local runner win.

The Beijing Half Marathon controversy adds to a history of cheating and poor organization in long-distance running events in China.

Previous instances include widespread cheating in the 2018 Shenzhen Half Marathon, where 258 participants were caught taking shortcuts or using fake bibs.

Social media users in China expressed disappointment and embarrassment over the incident, with some labeling it as the “most embarrassing championship” in He Jie’s career.

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