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Top Four Disqualified From Beijing Half Marathon After Unauthorized Pacemaking

He Jei and runners who paced him have had their results nullified, and have been reportedly "punished."

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Last week, allegations surfaced that three African runners intentionally allowed China’s He Jie to win the Beijing Half Marathon.

Video footage seemed to show Kenya’s Robert Keter, Willy Mnangat, and Ethiopia’s Dejene Hailu signaling for He to pass them and cross the line first. 

Beijing Sports Bureau and World Athletics launched an investigation into the race after the footage from the finish went viral.

“We are investigating and will announce the results to the public once they are available,” an unnamed representative from the Beijing Sports Bureau told AFP.

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

After an inquiry into the race, the top four runners in the Beijing Half Marathon were disqualified and had their medals revoked.

As a result, all prize money and bonuses will be returned. Additionally, China’s state broadcaster has said that all four athletes have been “punished” on top of having their results nullified.

Mnangat claimed they were pacers for He, but the race organizers found they weren’t officially registered as pacers, violating the rules. 

Top Four Disqualified From Beijing Half Marathon After Unauthorized Pacemaking 1

Following the incident, the Chinese Athletics Association expressed intentions to enhance the organization of road running events in the country, acknowledging areas for improvement. 

“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.”

He Jie, who won the race, became a home crowd favorite before the Beijing Half Marathon after he won gold at the 2023 Asian Games marathon and set China’s marathon record.

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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