South China Morning Post(Hong Kong)
More marathon drama in China as Ethiopian runner forced to a stop at finish line
- Chinese marshal grabbed athlete Gelgelo Tona Outoya’s arm soon after he won the race, causing him to collapse on the ground
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 December, 2018, 5:02pmUPDATED : Wednesday, 05 December, 2018, 3:45pmC
17 Dec 2018
The official grabbed the arm of professional athlete Gelgelo Tona Outoya as he was still jogging after winning the Nanning International Marathon in Guangxi on Sunday – causing the runner to collapse on the ground.
The incident, broadcast live on state television, has caused uproar, with many viewers criticising the marshal for putting Outoya’s health at risk as he tried to cool down from the long-distance race.
It came two weeks after a Chinese runner controversially lost to an Ethiopian rival after a marshal ran in front of her and pressed a national flag into her hand as she was sprinting towards the finish line at a marathon in Suzhou, Jiangsu province.
The marshal involved in the latest incident said he was just trying to support Outoya so that he did not fall over, an official from the Nanning Sports Bureau told Beijing Youth Daily on Tuesday.
“The runner seemed to be slightly confused after he crossed the line and he kept running towards the photo area – so the marshal grabbed him to try to stop him from running into [other people],” the official told the state-controlled newspaper, which did not name him or the marshal. 00:14 / 00:15TOP ARTICLES1/5READ MOREThis PowerPoint presentation proves Huawei CFO Sabrina Meng Wanzhou is guilty, says US. Preposterous, says her lawyer
The official also denied an accusation that the marshal had been trying to steer the athlete towards an event banner for a photo, saying there were no photographs or other ceremonies held for the runners after the race.