'We sincerely apologise': Beijing half marathon results annulled after cheating claims

Chinese runner He Jie crosses the finish line to win the Beijing Half Marathon.
The top four race finishers have been retrospectively disqualified. Credit: CNN

Chinese authorities have annulled the results of this year's Beijing half marathon, following accusations that a trio of runners deliberately threw the race.

Chinese long-distance runner He Jie was crowned the event winner after finishing a second ahead of three African athletes - Robert Keter, Willy Mnangat and Dejene Hailu.

But video footage of the half marathon's ending sparked claims of cheating, when it appeared that He was ushered to move into first place without any challenge from the lead racers.

The Beijing Half Marathon Organising Committee has now retrospectively disqualified He and the trio of African runners.

"The match results of He Jie, Willy Mnangat, Dejene Bikila and Robert Keter will be cancelled, the trophies, medals and bonuses will be recovered and this case will be reported to the Chinese Athletics Association for record," a statement read.

"Issue a notice of criticism to the Beijing Sports Competition Management and International Exchange Center and will severely deal with relevant personnel."

He - who is considered one of China's most promising long-distance runners - appeared to look unimpressed after winning the event.

In contrast, Mnangat, Bikila and Keter could be seen smiling and applauding He's race win.

Race organisers said they would launch an investigation shortly after the half marathon had concluded.

The Beijing Half Marathon Organising Committee added that it felt "deeply guilty and sincerely apologise to all walks of life" for not recognising the foul play sooner.

"We learn the lessons deeply in the future work, draw references from one example, continuously improve our work, further promote the spirit of sports, as well as improve the level and quality of competitions," a statement read.

He is ranked 77th in the world in men's marathon by World Athletics and is expected to lead the way for Asian runners in the upcoming Summer Olympics in Paris.

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