A Chinese team has been kicked out of its own Military World Games after other countries alerted judges to “extensive cheating” by the hosts.
Originally the Chinese athletes had taken the first, second and fourth places in the women’s middle-distance orienteering competition, as well as second place in the men’s, during the race on Sunday, according to a statement by the International Orienteering Federation (IOF).
But after a complaint by six European countries, including Russia and France, judges discovered that Chinese runners has been assisted by local spectators. This included onlookers placing markings and preparing special paths in the terrain for Chinese athletes, which only those competitors were aware of.
The Chinese team was banned from taking part in the long-distance orienteering competition, according to the IOF.
“The IOF takes the actions of the Chinese team very seriously,” IOF Secretary General Tom Hollowell said in a statement, adding that the organization was “investigating if any further actions need to be taken to guarantee the fairness of competition at the upcoming World Cup final in Guangzhou, China from October 25.”
Like the Olympics, the Military World Games are held every four years. The inaugural competition was held in Rome in 1995 and this is China’s first time hosting the event, which will continue until October 30.
More than 9,000 athletes from 109 countries are expected to take part in the Wuhan games, according to local organizers.
Among the events are swimming, parachuting, orienteering and wrestling. So far, China is substantially leading on the medal tally, with twice as many gold medals as nearest competitor Russia.
By Ben Westcott