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Marathon entry cheaters to face scrutiny

By Sun Xiaochen | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-09 07:32

Marathon organizers have been urged to strengthen regulations and punish those who cheat to qualify for races, following a lawsuit involving illegal trading of race entries.

With the demand for marathon participation surging, the trading of spots in races between legal registrants and runners who failed to qualify has become common.

A case involving the death of a runner, which was heard by the Haicang District People's Court in Xiamen, Fujian province, on Wednesday, highlighted the importance of scrutinizing participants' identities and strengthening event management.

During a half-marathon in Xiamen on Dec 10, a runner who was later found to be a substitute competing under someone else's name and number died of a heart attack.

The family of the deceased runner, surnamed Wu, sued the race organizing committee and the original registrant for more than 1.2 million yuan ($176,000) in compensation. The plaintiffs said the death was preventable.

"The organizer could have done better in verifying each participant's identity at the prerace check-in to prohibit substitute runners such as Wu from taking part, so the race organizers should be responsible for his death," Li Yonglyu, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs, told China National Radio on Thursday.

Li also alleged that the original registrant, surnamed Li, should be held accountable.

Wu Mingxian, a representative of the race organizing committee, said organizers had fulfilled their obligations, since there is no regulation governing identity checks.

The court had yet to issue a verdict, as of Thursday.

After the Xiamen race, the Chinese Athletic Association issued a regulation requiring race organizers to tighten their qualification processes.

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