May 20, 2024

Controversial Kenyan athletes stripped of Beijing medals

Controversial Kenyan athletes stripped of Beijing medals
File photo

Footage appeared to show Kenyans Robert Keter and Willy Mangat, as well as Ethiopia's Dejene Hailu, pointing to the line and slowing down to let He win the race

The top three finishers of the Beijing half marathon have been stripped of their medals following an investigation into the controversial result. 

Allegations were made that the three deliberately allowed Chinese star runner He Jie to win Sunday's race.

 Footage appeared to show Kenyans Robert Keter and Willy Mangat, as well as Ethiopia's Dejene Hailu, pointing to the line and slowing down to let He pass the finish line. Initial reports by internal media indicated that the runners hinted at having been engaged as pacemakers for He. 

However, the race organizing committee, who led the investigation, said that none of the three had been officially registered as pacemakers, so their actions breached the competition rules.

 


All trophies, medals, and bonuses will be recovered from the trio, according to the organizers. China's state broadcaster CCTV also reported that all four had been "punished," and their results had been canceled. 

After the race, the Chinese Athletics Association said it would seek to improve the organization of road running events in the country. "In general, the overall operation of road running events has been smooth," it said in a statement. "But problems in the organization and management of the events have also been exposed, which has aroused widespread concern." 

China's He won marathon gold at the 2023 Asian Games in Hangzhou and is his country's record holder for the full marathon.