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Beijing half marathon hit by controversy as China’s He Jie allowed to win

Organisers of the Beijing half marathon are investigating allegations that three African athletes deliberately allowed China’s star runner He Jie to win Sunday’s race.

Footage appeared to show Kenya’s Robert Keter and Willy Mnangat and Ethiopia’s Dejene Hailu pointing to the line and slowing down before waving past He.

This is where the story gets interesting.

Shortly after the race when the three Africans were asked if they deliberately allowed He to win, Mnagat told a Chinese media outlet: “Yes, he comes to Kenya and I was [pacing for him] in the Wuxi Marathon, so he is my friend, OK?”

Six hours later, Mnangat changed his story, telling BBC Sport Africa that he was a pacemaker. However, his bib was the same as He’s and did not say “pace”, as is common practice.

Mnangat also told BBC Sport Africa that the intent was for He to break the Chinese national record.

The Beijing Sports Bureau, the municipal body in charge of sports, told NBC News that the incident had its “utmost attention” and that the results of its investigation would be “promptly disclosed to the public.”

He Jie is a member of China’s marathon team and a national record holder in the full marathon.

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Sources: BBC, NBC & South China Post.

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