File photo of the Qingado marathon, 2017. TPG

Chinese marathon official banned for directing race leader wrong way

The mishap occurred just 300 metres from the finish.

THE CHINESE ATHLETIC Association has banned an official for one year after the leading runner at a marathon was directed the wrong way near the finish. 

The mishap came at the Qingdao Marathon in Eastern China when Kenya’s Biegon Andrew Kiplangat followed a guiding car down the wrong route with just 300 metres left in the race, according to Tencent Sports.

It published brief footage showing a perplexed Kiplangat pausing, before a man who appears to be a security guard shows him where to go.

Despite the mix-up Kiplangat won the marathon on 4 May in two hours, 22 minutes and 17 seconds, according to the official record.

That did not stop the Chinese Athletic Association (CAA) handing out a one-year ban to a marathon official for “dereliction of duty”.

Huang Jianyi will not be allowed to oversee any marathons during that period, the CAA said.

“He didn’t take the guide car to direct runners as required and didn’t correctly guide the runner, resulting in the incident that the leading athlete ran the wrong way when he was about to sprint,” said the CAA.

The CCA did not make clear exactly what role Huang played in the race’s organisation. 

Long-distance and marathon running is booming in China: in 2011 there were just 22 marathons, half-marathons or other running events in China, but that number rocketed to about 1,500 last year.

This explosion in interest and participation has not come without its grubbier realities.

At a domestic marathon in March, for example, a woman was caught using a bicycle part of the way while dozens took shortcuts at the Shenzhen half-marathon in November.

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