Chinese marathon organizers appologize for not seeing the winner

Updated: 2015-10-18 13:52


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Chinese marathon organizers appologize for not seeing the winner

File photo of Gong Chao.

YANTAI, Shandong Province - The first-place finisher in a Chinese marathon will receive his overdue prize after organizers admitted they failed to see the runner cross the finish line.

Gong Chao, an amateur marathon runner, finished first with a personal best of two hours and 52 minutes in Yantai International Marathon held in the eastern coastal city of Yantai, but was later told his result had been canceled for "cheating".

The organizers explained that Gong did not appear anywhere in the official video that only recorded the first three runners during the race.

Gong took to the Internet to contest his innocence and the organizers were forced to review his result until Friday when they decided Gong did not cheat.

"The organizers investigated and have the evidence that shows the athlete with the number of F0428 did not violate any rules. So his result is valid. He will be given the full-marathon champion's prize. We apologize for our neglect," said the organizers in a statement.

The organizers added the other finishers will have their places moved back one slot but they can keep their prize money.

The 29-year-old Shandong native will have his prize back in a few days.

"I want to thank my fellow runners, the media and all my friends who believe in me and supported me," said Gong on Saturday.