Organizers of Beijing half marathon investigating claims that 2 Kenyan athletes and 1 Ethiopian athlete allowed China’s star runner, HE JIE, to win the race (VIDEO)

Tuesday, April 16, 2024
 – Beijing half marathon organisers have announced they are investigating claims three African runners deliberately allowed China’s He Jie to win the race.

Footage appeared to show Kenya's Robert Keter and Willy Mnangat and Ethiopia's Dejene Hailu pointing to the line and slowing down before China’s He Jie, 25 ran past the finish line.

He, the 2023 Asian Games marathon gold medallist, won by one second. The four had stuck together throughout the course of just over 13 miles (21 kilometres), a broadcaster noted.

“We are investigating and will announce the results to the public once they are available,” a person from the Beijing Sports Bureau, who wished to remain anonymous, told AFP.

The event’s organiser - the Beijing Sports Competition Management and International Exchange Center - also said an investigation had been launched.

The incident received significant attention on the Chinese social media site Weibo, with some users criticising what they saw as an “embarrassing” result.

“This will certainly be the most embarrassing championship in He Jie’s career,” one wrote.

“With such a major organiser and such a well-known event, this really pushes sportsmanship to the ground in shame,” the post said.

China Sports Insider Mark Dreyer said the incident was “extremely odd” in a post that gained traction on X.

“Three Kenyans in today’s Beijing Half Marathon clearly let China’s He Jie - current Asian Games marathon champion - win the race, all the while coasting themselves, waving him through and congratulating him after the race. Appears to be a tacit agreement?” he wrote.

Track and field’s international body said it was “aware” of the footage online and the investigation into it.

“The integrity of our sport is the highest priority at World Athletics, while this investigation is ongoing we are unable to provide further comment,” Director of Communications Jamie Fox told AFP.

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