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February 23, 2010

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6 city marathon runners rubbed out for taking short way home

SIX runners in last year's Shanghai International Marathon have had their results annulled for cheating two days after the event organizer made an assurance that the competition was above board.

The six took shortcuts in the 2009 Toray Shanghai International Marathon, according to a statement posted online by the arbiters of the event's organizer.

"We have checked the video records, referee records and the results of the top 100 athletes and confirmed that athletes Nos. 2898, 2725, 3137, 2845, 2846 and 995 cheated in different sections," said the arbitration commission of the 2009 Shanghai International Marathon in the statement on its official Website,

"We decided to cancel their results as they violated the regulations of this event."

The six athletes were ranked 22, 23, 68, 82, 83 and 108 in the 42.2-kilometer men's full marathon, according to China Youth Daily yesterday.

Their records have been removed from official results.

Suspicion has clouded the Shanghai marathon since Internet users found a strange fact in the competition result in that 64 runners among the top 100 were from east China's Shandong Province.

The commission did not say if the six cheats were among the Shandong runners.

Skeptics said the cheats, mostly high school students, did so to win extra credits in the fiercely competitive colleague entrance examinations.

Yang Peigang, deputy director of the Shanghai marathon's organizing committee, said that Shandong sent a team with about 150 well-performed athletes for the competition on November 29.

He said their favorable results were not surprising.

International marathons hosted in many Chinese cities are not organized by official athletics federations and cheating has been rife.

For example, more than 30 runners in the Xiamen International Marathon in Fujian Province this year, all ranked in the top 100 of the men's race at the January 2 event, were disqualified for cheating.

Most of the cheats caught in Xiamen recorded times of less than 2 hours 34 minutes, the minimum needed for high school students to get extra credits for the colleague entrance exams.

Two of the alleged Xiamen cheats were from a high school in Shandong, where competition for the exam is considered the toughest.

In the Xiamen race, some runners were found carrying more than one time-keeping microchip so they could register their time for others at the finish line. Others were caught riding in vehicles.


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