Bizarre Beijing half-marathon under investigation after three African race leaders SLOWED DOWN before finish line to let a Chinese runner win – as one claims it was ‘because he is my friend’

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • The circumstances surrounding the end of Sunday’s race have raised questions
  • Asian Games gold medallist He Jie overcame a large deficit to win on home soil
  • Footage appeared to show leaders slow down and not attempt to retake the lead 

An investigation has been launched into the Beijing half-marathon after the leaders appeared to slow down to allow Chinese athlete He Jie to win the race.

Footage from Sunday’s event showed Kenyan runner Willy Mnangat looking toward Jie and pointing to the finish line before the Asian Games marathon gold medallist moved ahead of himself, fellow Kenyan Robert Keter and Ethiopia’s Dejene Hailu Bikila. 

The African trio had opened up a gap of a few hundred metres on Jie and they made no effort to retake the lead once their opponent had passed. 

Mnangat later admitted to the South China Morning Post that he let Jie win the race ‘because he is my friend’. 

The event’s organiser – the Beijing Sports Competition Management and International Exchange Centre – referred an inquiry to the half-marathon’s organising committee. 

Kenyan runner Willy Mnangat could be seen looking toward Jie and pointing to the finish line before the Chinese athlete made his move to the front

The 25-year-old appeared to be ushered forward as he took the lead in the closing stages

The 25-year-old appeared to be ushered forward as he took the lead in the closing stages 

The Beijing Sports Bureau, the body in charge of sports, said an investigation was under way and the findings would be published later. 

Jie, 25, a member of China’s marathon team, is also the national marathon record holder. He won in a time of 1:03:44, ahead of Mnangat, Keter and Bikila all tied for second place.  

The incident has garnered attention on social media, with some labelling the race as an embarrassment. 

Users of Chinese social media site Weibo have posted about the race, with a comment saying ‘this is no doubt the most embarrassing title of He Jie’s career’.

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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