BATON-GATE: Athletes question “purity of sport” after US women’s re-run

CCTV News

Photo: VCG Photo: VCG

In a matter of few hours, the Chinese women’s 400m relay race team experienced what might be the most dramatic nosedive in their career. ‪

After 16 years, they had finally made it to the Olympic final – they had secured an eighth place. But their joy was short-lived, as the U.S. team appealed for a re-run after they accidentally dropped the baton during the qualifying race on Thursday.

The U.S. team claimed they were affected by a Brazilian runner on the second exchange, according to the USA Today. When Allyson Felix was prepared to pass the baton to her teammate, English Gardner, she was bumped by a Brazilian runner, failing to toss the baton into Gardner’s hand.

That miss deterred them from getting to the finals, but the U.S. team immediately filed an appeal to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). They were then allowed to re-run the race all by themselves on the Olympic stadium’s track.

The results turned out positive for the team – finishing at 41.77 seconds, which means that they not only won a ticket to the final but also beat Jamaica, which led the qualifying round, by 0.02 seconds.

The Chinese team members, who clocked 42.70 seconds at the qualifying, were therefore knocked out of the final.

Following the incident, China has filed two appeals to IAAF – one against the United States’ reinstatement, and the other requesting that the Chinese team compete in the final along with the eight qualifying teams. However, both appeals were denied.

The athletic body’s denial has now raised many questions on the fairness of its decision.

Yang Jian, a well-known track and field commentator in China, said there has never been a case where athletes are allowed to re-run despite being obstructed by fellow competitors, especially in an event as big as the Olympics.

“If it’s a fair deed, then Liu Xiang should re-run his 110m hurdles solo after he was hit by Dayron Robles’ hand at the 2011 World Championships,” Yang said on his Weibo account.

He added that even if a re-run were allowed, it shouldn’t have been solo because it violates the competitive spirit, the essence of track and field sports.

Meanwhile, Liang Xiaojing, one of the four Chinese women who competed at the controversial 4x100m relay race, posted on her Weibo questioning “where is the purity of sports?”

Screenshot of the Chinese runner Liang Xiaojing's Weibo

Screenshot of the Chinese runner Liang Xiaojing’s Weibo

But this is not Team China’s first controversial verdict at the Rio Olympics.

Previously, Chinese boxer Lv Bin was judged to lose his bout with Kenya’s Peter Warui, even though Lv and the audience believed he was the winner. Lv had the upper hand several times and even forced the referee to count seconds for Warui, but was not successful.

“The referee stole my dream,” Lv later wrote a heart-wrenching post on his Weibo.

Lv Bin of China (L) and Peter Mungai Warui of Kenya (R) are awarded the decision in their Mens 46-49 Light Fly Weight bout on Day 3 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Riocentro - Pavilion 6 on August 8, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images, via VCG)

Lv Bin of China (L) and Peter Mungai Warui of Kenya (R) are awarded the decision in their Mens 46-49 Light Fly Weight bout on Day 3 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Riocentro – Pavilion 6 on August 8, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images, via VCG)

In another case, China’s Li Yajun was first given two white lights and one red light at her first jerk of 123kg during women’s 53kg weightlifting event on August 7, which meant she succeeded at the attempt, but the jury later changed the result without notifying Li or her coaches. Li then unknowingly raised her weight to 126kg, but failed, thus ending her Olympic journey without marks.

Aug 7, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Li Yajun (CHN) competes during the women's 53kg in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Riocentro. Mandatory Credit: David Klutho-USA TODAY Sports

Aug 7, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Yajun Li (CHN) competes during the women’s 53kg in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Riocentro. Mandatory Credit: David Klutho-USA TODAY Sports, via VCG

Though what has happened during the past two weeks at the arena is now water under the bridge, many Chinese people hope that Rio Olympics officials deliver a more impartial judgement in the last two days before the Games conclude.

Story from CCTV NEWS.


Mike Bako on U.S women’s 400-meter relay

For more about U.S women’s 400-meter controverst, CCTV America’s Mike Walter interviewed Mike Bako, ‎sports editor from Daily National.

Story from CCTV NEWS.