Organizers of marathons sparking controversy punished

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The "flag-handing volunteer" incident that attracted much attention in the 2018 Suzhou Taihu Marathon has now received an official response. The race's organizer lost its graded qualification in marathon competitions as a punishment, as decided by the China Athletics Association on Sunday.

The Chinese marathon runner He Yinli came in second after she was knocked out of her stride, interrupted by volunteers who insisted on handing the national flag to her before she reached the finish line in the Suzhou Taihu Marathon on Nov 18, which provoked a heated public controversy.

Also in Sunday's decision, the organizing committees of Nanning International Marathon and the Shenzhen Nanshan Half-Marathon were additionally penalized at the 2018 Marathon Special Media Communication Meeting over their respective incidents of violations.

In the 13th Nanning International Marathon, an Ethiopian runner who reached the finish line first was suddenly dragged to a stop by an organizing committee staff member immediately after he crossed the line.

In the Shenzhen Nanshan Half-Marathon, more than 200 runners cut through a wooded area in order to shave at least 1 kilometer off their race.

These organizing committees were also requested to submit a written rectification report to the Chinese Athletics Association within a prescribed time limit.

The decision was based on the management measures for Chinese marathons and related sports events in order to strictly discipline violators and maintain a fair competition.

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