Fri, Oct 25, 2019 - Page 5 News List

PLA’s orienteering team stripped of medals for cheating

AFP, BEIJING

A cheating Chinese orienteering team was disqualified after losing its moral compass, and using secret paths and markings during the 7th CISM Military World Games that opened on Friday last week.

The team bagged some of the top spots in a middle-distance competition on Sunday.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) women runners finished in first, second and fourth place, and in second place among the men.

However, organizers later discovered the mixed-gender team had strayed from the straight and narrow.

Spectators had helped them by pointing the way and a number of “markings and small paths [were] prepared for them, which only they were aware of,” the International Orienteering Federation (IOF) said on Wednesday.

A protest was handed in by the national teams of Russia, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Poland and Austria, and the jury decided to disqualify all competitors in the Chinese team.

The Military World Games bring together military athletes from around the world every four years to compete in more than 30 sports or events, ranging from basketball and badminton to lifesaving and parachuting to three different pentathons.

Ahead of Wednesday’s medal ceremony for the final orienteering relays events, medals were awarded to the Swiss winners of Sunday’s middle distance competition after the Chinese team was withdrawn from the event.

The PLA organized the Wuhan games along with the International Military Sports Council (CISM), but the Chinese Ministry of National Defense did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the scandal.

The IOF said it would continue investigating the cheaing and work with the CISM to decide whether those “involved in the improper activities” would be sanctioned, and if further action was needed to guarantee the fairness of the four-day IOF World Cup that opens in Guangzhou today.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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