Deaths at half-marathon prompt mea­sures to stop cheat­ing

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By SUN XIAOCHEN sunx­i­aochen@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Fol­low­ing the deaths of two run­ners, China’s ath­let­ics gov­ern­ing body and run­ners have called for tougher reg­u­la­tions to halt cheat­ing in qual­i­fy­ing for marathons.

The deaths of two run­ners dur­ing a re­cent race in Xi­a­men, Fu­jian prov­ince, have un­der­lined a prob­lem with run­ners pri­vately trad­ing race en­tries.

The Chi­nese Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion is­sued a safety reg­u­la­tion on Satur­day that re­quires all race or­ga­niz­ers to tighten the qual­i­fi­ca­tion process and im­pose life­time bans on run­ners caught cheat­ing.

One of the de­ceased at the Xi­a­men half-marathon on Dec 10 was a sub­sti­tute who com­peted un­der some­one else’s name and num­ber.

While race of­fi­cials said both run­ners had car­dio­vas­cu­lar prob­lems, al­low­ing run­ners who aren’t prop­erly reg­is­tered presents spe­cial risks. Race of­fi­cials would not have proper health or con­tact in­for­ma­tion for run­ners who aren’t reg­is­tered.

“Trad­ing of en­trants’ quo­tas and com­pet­ing un­der some­body else’s name is some­thing that oc­curs in many events do­mes­ti­cally and over­seas. We will take a strong stance against this be­hav­ior, which jeop­ar­dizes the in­tegrity of the sport as well as health of such par­tic­i­pants,” said Wang Dawei, vice-pres­i­dent of the ath­letic as­so­ci­a­tion.

Race or­ga­niz­ers na­tion­wide get sig­nif­i­cantly larger num­bers of ap­pli­ca­tions than places avail­able for such events.

While trad­ing race places among friends was com­mon early on, trad­ing for money and fame has be­come a se­ri­ous is­sue. Some reg­is­trants hire es­tab­lished run­ners to com­pete in their name so they can ob­tain ben­e­fits like ex­tra points in col­lege ad­mis­sions.

“There’s no doubt that the in­tegrity of the sport and re­spect for the rules should be pro­tected,” said Wang Jing, a vet­eran marathon run­ner.

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