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Tragedy in Guangzhou

By Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2012-11-28 13:03

Family members of a runner who died eight days after taking part in a recent marathon in Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong province, have complained of delayed treatment by the event's organizers.

Ding Xiqiao, 25, from Central China's Hunan province, died midnight on Monday after being treated in intensive care at the No 6 Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University.

Ding's elder brother, Ding Hongqiao, claims delayed treatment at the course caused the death.

"We are asking for a fair and thorough investigation from the organizers. But so far the investigation report has yet to be given to us," he told China Daily on Tuesday.

Chen Yangjie, who ran with Ding during the race, told the Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis Daily that the ambulance arrived at the scene about 20 minutes after Ding fell unconscious.

Ding Xiqiao was sent to the hospital and kept in intensive care for more than a week after collapsing just before the finish line of the 5km race on Nov 18.

It was the second death reported at the Guangzhou Marathon.

Another runner, Chen Jie, 21, died of cardiac shock several hours after finishing a 10km race that was part of the event, the first of its kind in Guangzhou.

On Monday afternoon, both families gathered at the Guangzhou Sports Bureau, which was the major organizer of the marathon, to complain that poor organization led to both deaths.

In response, the organizing committee said both runners received prompt treatment and that there have been no issues related to medical fees, according to a press statement issued about two hours before Ding's death on Monday night.

"As the race was under way, the ambulance did not arrive at the site quickly. Medical staff had to rush to the scene and immediately conduct treatment," the statement said.

Local authorities organized more than 250 medical professionals, 380 volunteers and 20 ambulances to cover the event, according to the statement.

However, 1,517 runners, most of whom were young, developed symptoms such as vomiting, dizziness and cramps during the event's various races, the organizing committee said.

Zhang Huijun, publicity official with the organizing committee, said local authorities will compensate the families of both runners.

"The amount is yet to be decided. We are discussing the issue with both families," Zhang told China Daily.

"But the money is just for humanitarian aid. We are also assisting the families as they seek compensation from life insurance companies."

The organizers said they bought insurance for all participants before the event.

Chen's family accepted the doctor's cause of death and did not ask for an autopsy, according to the statement.

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