Beijing half-marathon top three are stripped of their medals after three African race leaders slowed down before the finish line to let Chinese runner win (VIDEO)

Saturday, April 20, 2024 
The top three in the Beijing half-marathon have had their medals stripped after three African race leaders appeared to slow down before the finish line to let a Chinese runner win.

According to Reuters, winner He Jie and three African runners had their results cancelled after an investigation found that the trio allowed the Chinese athlete to finish first.

He had won the race in China's capital with a time of 1:03.44, ahead of Ethiopian Dejene Hailu Bikila and Kenyans Robert Keter and Willy Mnangat who all finished joint second. 

The organising committee said in a statement that the three African runners 'actively slowed down in the last two kilometers and as a result, He Jie won the men's championship.'

They added that the 'trophies, medals and bonuses will be recovered.' 

Mnangat, reportedly told the BBC that the trio ran as pacemakers along with another runner who did not finish the race.

The Kenyan allegedly claimed that they had been contracted to help He break the Chinese half-marathon record of 1:02:33, something he was not able to accomplish.

He said: 'I was not there to compete. It was not a competitive race for me.'

'I don't know why they put my name on my bib/chest number instead of labelling it as a pacemaker,' Mnangat added.

'My job was to set the pace and help the guy win but unfortunately, he did not achieve the target, which was to break the national record.'

The Zhongao Lupao Beijing Sports Management company said its partner Xiamen Xtep Investment failed to note the relevant pacer information, which led to the organising committee not being informed.

'Our company has unshrinkable responsibility and would like to experience our sincere apologies to all runners,' Xtep said in a statement as per Reuters. 

'We bear a great responsibility and fully accept the punishment decision made by the organizing committee.'

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