Runners of the suspected final of the Beijing Half Marathon were sanctioned

The Chinese He Jie, who won the race, and the Africans Dejene Hailu Bikila, Robert Keter and Willy Mnangat, who would have let him win, must return the medals and prizes obtained in the competition.

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He Jie became Marathon champion at the 2023 Asian Games
He Jie became Marathon champion at the 2023 Asian Games

The Beijing Half Marathon organization decided to sanction the four competitors involved in the suspicious end of the race that took place last Sunday and ended with the victory of the Chinese He Jie.

The Beijing International Exchange and Sports Competition Management Center opened an investigation to determine if the Ethiopian Dejene Hailu Bikila and Kenyans Robert Keter and Willy Mnangat had let the local runner win.

Finally, the organization decided to sanction runners, who must return their medals, trophies and prizes obtained in the Beijing Half Marathon.

After discovering the curious images, in which the three Africans seemed to “escort” He to the finish line, Mnangat explained to BBC Sport Africa that “he was not there to compete” but that he should help He break the Chinese record (1:02:33), which he finally failed because the time was 1:03:44.

“I don’t know why they put my name on my back/chest number instead of labeling it as a pacemaker. My job was to set the pace and help the boy win, but unfortunately he didn’t achieve the goal, which was to break the national record,” Mnangat said.

In the videos that went viral after the competition, Mnangat can be seen gesturing to the champion of the 2023 Asian Games Marathon so that he will lead the race a few meters from the end. Beyond the explanations, the organization considered that the three African runners slowed down so that He Jie could catch up with them and then let him achieve victory.

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