Thursday, June 13, 2024

Organizers cancel runner’s half marathon victory

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He Jie’s victory in the 2024 Beijing Half Marathon has been cancelled as have the places of three foreign athletes said to have “escorted” him to the finishing line.

The Chinese athlete crossed the line first on April 14 but broadcast footage of the four athletes at the finish sparked controversy.

The organizing committee launched an investigation on that day and it was revealed that the three foreign athletes had been invited by Xtep to act as pacers.

However, Xtep failed to clearly label them, leading to the organizer of the race, China Olympic Road Running Company, not reporting to the organizing committee and registering foreign pacers as invited athletes to participate in the competition, a violation of competition rules.

On the day of the race, the three foreign pacers participated in the competition wearing the bib numbers of invited athletes while also leading the race as pacers for He. During the final 2 kilometers, they slowed down, resulting in He winning the men’s championship in a time of 1 hour, 3 minutes, and 44 seconds.

Footage from the live broadcast of the 2024 Beijing Half Marathon sparked controversy.

The organizing committee has canceled the results of He, Willy Mnangat, Dejene Bikila and Robert Keter and retrieved their trophies, medals, and prize money.

In addition, the partnership qualification of Xtep for this competition period has been revoked, and the qualification of China Olympic Road Running Company as the organizer and operator has been terminated.

Xtep issued an apology statement, stating it fully accepted the decision, and will reflect, deeply examine, and strictly deal with the personnel involved. China Olympic Road Running Company also apologized on Friday.

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