Kenyan Runner

The Beijing Half Marathon witnessed a surprising turn of events as Kenyan runner Willy Mnangat admitted to intentionally allowing China’s He Jie to clinch victory, citing their friendship as the reason behind his decision.

The race’s conclusion on Sunday stirred online controversy, with spectators noticing leading contenders seemingly yielding to He Jie. Video footage captured Mnangat, alongside fellow Kenyan Robert Keter and Ethiopia’s Dejene Hailu Bikila, running alongside He Jie, the reigning Asian Games marathon gold medalist.

Kenyan Mnangat’s gesture towards the finish line, signaling for He Jie to pass them, was met without resistance from the trio.

Initially confirming his decision to let He Jie win, Mnangat later shifted his stance, claiming he was acting as a pacemaker. However, scrutiny arose as Kenyan Mnangat’s bib mirrored He Jie’s and lacked customary indicators of being a pacer. Responding to the unfolding controversy, the event organizer, Beijing Sports Competition Management and International Exchange Centre, announced an investigation into the matter.


Emphasizing the importance of integrity in sports, particularly in adherence to regulations set by the global governing body, the organizer pledged to delve deeper into the circumstances surrounding the race’s outcome.

Netizens have flooded social media platforms with a myriad of reactions to the unfolding drama at the Beijing Half Marathon. From humorous quips to genuine concerns about Kenya’s reputation in the world of athletics, opinions vary widely.

Some users, like @oloishorua_1topg, express disappointment, lamenting that corruption has seemingly infiltrated even the realm of running, tarnishing Kenya’s standing in the sport. (wakale wamepeleka corruption kwa mbio sasa. Kenya will loose its credibility in this precious sport)

Others, such as @yneemiamy, adopt a more pragmatic viewpoint, suggesting that if Kenya’s marathon prowess isn’t duly recognized, perhaps it’s fair game to let a fellow countryman claim victory.(kama marathon runners wa Kenya wameleta Gold mingi na bado hawatambuliwi si they let mwenye anatambuliwa kwao a win.)

In jest, comments like those from @victor_jnr2 and @debby.samara evoke laughter, humorously suggesting that Kenya’s debt to China is being settled in unconventional ways, with the Beijing Half Marathon serving as the unlikely battleground.(Tunalipa deni pole pole)

However, amidst the laughter and playful banter, underlying concerns about integrity and sportsmanship emerge. @kish__arts’s hope that the debt has been paid hints at a deeper longing for fair play and ethical conduct in the world of athletics.



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