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Four athletes who competed in Sunday’s Beijing half marathon are being investigated. This comes after allegations emerged that three African athletes allowed China’s star runner He Jie to win the race.

Video footage of the controversial win shows Robert Keter and Willy Mnangat from Kenya, alongside Ethiopia’s Dejen Hailu slowing down and pointing to the line so that He could pass them on his way to the finish line.

During an interview with the BBC, Mnangat said there were originally four of them who acted as pace runners for He. They were contracted to assist He in breaking the Chinese half marathon record. One of the pacemakers didn’t finish the race.

25-year-old He didn’t manage to break the record as he missed it by less than 1 minute.

Mnangat said his role was clear from the start.

“I don’t know why they put my name on the bib/chest number instead of labelling it as a pacemaker. My job was to set the pace and help the guy win but unfortunately, he did not achieve the target, which was to break the national record.”

The Beijing Sports Bureau confirmed to AFP that they were investigating the matter and plan to share the results with the public.

“We will announce the results to the public once they are available.”

Image credit: The China Global South Project

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