May 21, 2024


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Beijing Half Marathon furore: Kenyan admits letting China's He Jie win race 'because he's my friend'

Beijing Half Marathon furore: Kenyan admits letting China's He Jie win race 'because he's my friend'

At one point, Manangat looked at He, pointed to the finish line, waved, and called on his Chinese opponent to move on.

Once the three racers were passed, they made no effort to regain the lead.

“He came to Kenya and so did I [pacing for him] in [the] Wuxi marathon, like that [he] “That’s my friend, all right,” Manangat said.

Hee Jie (5th from left), with Willie Mnangat (2nd from left) and Robert Keeter (3rd from left) during the race. Photo: Xinhua

The event's organizer, the Beijing Center for Sports Competitions Administration and International Exchange, said an investigation had been opened.

An anonymous source told AFP that the Beijing Sports Bureau is also looking into the matter.

He finished the half marathon in one hour, three minutes and 44 seconds, exactly one second faster than second-placed Bikila.

The result made him the best local Beijing Marathon runner in the competition's history.

In videos posted online, a commentator can be heard saying the four ran together throughout the 21-kilometre (13-mile) race.

The accident received great attention on Chinese and Western social media, with many users saying the result had tarnished the race's reputation.

“I've been running marathons for several years, but I've never seen anything like this,” one user commented on Weibo.

Others demanded that the results of the four contestants' race be annulled.

The newspaper also contacted Karen Lin, the Chinese agent who represents Mnangat and 32 other elite runners, 29 of whom are Kenyans, but he refused to answer questions about the race and said it had “nothing to do with me”.

Chinese sports expert Mark Dreyer told the newspaper, “This simply does not happen at the elite level.”

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“It is one thing to cross the border together, hand in hand, in a show of sportsmanship, but that is not what happened here, as the African trio clearly allowed HJ to win,” Dreyer said.

“His time was one second faster than the others – so this is what the record books will show: Firstly, he was not tied for pole.

“He Jie is an elite athlete – Asian Games champion and Chinese marathon record holder. He does not need this charity – it mocks the competition and undermines his past achievements.

The Post was unable to contact Bikila and Keter.

“[It is] “It is very common for professional African runners to compete in top regional races across China – but it is very unusual for them to let a Chinese runner win so clearly,” Dreyer said in X.

“[The] “The most obvious explanation here is that the race fees for the Africans were guaranteed and/or a bonus was offered to allow the local runner to win,” he added.

“Otherwise, compete for the prize [money] It could be a tough matchup between them on the Chinese circuit, where there is hardly enough to pay for them.

Mnangat said no one asked him to let him win, and he did not receive a financial reward for it.

“I had never done a half marathon before, so this time I wanted to set a personal best [performance]He told Chinese state media after the race.

“I had just finished the Wuxi Marathon not long ago, so I wasn't at my competitive best. If I had been in the same condition I was during the Wuxi Marathon, I think my performance would have been better.

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He finished the Wuxi Marathon in March in a time of 2:06:57, a national record.