China’s orienteering team disqualified from World Military Games

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s orienteering team has been disqualified from this year’s Military World Games hosted by the mainland following accusations of cheating at an event, a statement from the association said. sports international.

The International Orienteering Federation (IOF) said in a statement that the middle-distance orienteering competition at Sunday’s games was “overshadowed by numerous cheating by the Chinese team”. .

Competitors in Orienteering, a cross-country race, are tested on their ability to complete a course using only a map and compass. But the IOF said the Chinese team were helped by local spectators and also used illegal course markings and small paths that only they were aware of.

“The jury has decided to disqualify all competitors from the Chinese team,” IOF said, adding that the Chinese had appealed against the decision, but without success.

The Chinese runners initially placed first, second and fourth in the women’s and second in the men’s. The fastest time to finish is now held by Switzerland’s Matthias Kyburz, but no medals have yet been awarded, the IOF said.

Reuters could not immediately reach the organizers of the games, the International Military Sports Council (CISM). The General Administration of Sports of China did not respond to a faxed request for comment.

National media has yet to report the incident. A preview of the orienteering events was published in local newspaper Yangtze Daily, saying the Chinese team had to achieve success through strong “group collaboration”.

The Wuhan Military Games official website (wuhan2019mwg.cn) did not directly refer to the disqualifications, although the names of the Chinese competitors were removed from the final standings.

Chinese microblogging service Weibo only published two posts referring to the incident, both citing foreign media.

CISM said in a statement that “rumors” of misconduct “can in no way tarnish the image of the games”, although it is unclear when the statement was released.

The annual military games kicked off in the Chinese city of Wuhan on Oct. 19 after an opening ceremony attended by President Xi Jinping.

Held under the banner “Military Glory, World Peace,” the games brought together more than 9,300 service members from 109 nations, according to its official website.

Reporting by David Stanway and the Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

Dino J. Dotson