The first four in the Beijing half-marathon, organized on Sunday April 14, were disqualified following a story that went viral on social networks. The three African athletes – the Kenyans Robert Ketere, Willy Mnangat And the Ethiopian Dejene Hailu – a few meters from the finish line, they had given way to the local star He Jieletting him cross the finish line.

In images that have gone around the world we see them slowing down voluntarily, while one of them extends his arm outwards as if to signal the other two to stay back to allow the Chinese athlete to cross the finish line with a second of 'advance.

Mnangat told BBC Sport Africa that the three were among four pacemakers (known as “hares”) who were hired to help him break the Chinese half-marathon record. “I wasn't there to compete, for me it wasn't a race,” admitted the Kenyan “because my job was to set the pace and help the boy win but unfortunately he didn't reach the objective which was to beat the national record” which remains 2 hours 06'57.

According to the South China Morning Post, “the investigation found that Mnangat, Keter and Hailu had not been registered as pacemakers for He and, therefore, their behavior at the finish line violated the rules of the competition “.

Once the investigation was completed, all four were stripped of their awards and medals, in addition to their disqualification.

The Beijing Half Marathon Ap

The Beijing Half Marathon

Event organizers reported today that “the 2024 Beijing Half Marathon committee made a decision following the investigation into the handling of the results of the men's race,” state broadcaster CCTV reported , according to which the four trophies will be withdrawn. medals and bonuses received”. All were sanctioned and “their results were not approved and were canceled”.

The performance of He, a marathon gold medalist at the 2023 Asian Games, was highly anticipated ahead of the upcoming Paris Summer Olympics. The Chinese Athletics Association said that after the incident it met earlier this week, issuing a statement pledging to make improvements to the sport in the country.

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