China punishes 27 officials after deadly ultramarathon

FILE PHOTO: Rescuers carry a stretcher as they work at the site where extreme cold killed participants in a 100 km ultramarathon race in Baiyin, Gansu province, China May 22, 2021 . cnsphoto via REUTERS / File Photo

BEIJING – China has punished 27 government officials found responsible for the deaths of last month’s ultramarathon, People’s Daily said on Friday, one of the world’s deadliest sports tragedies in recent history.

Twenty-one people died hypothermia when extremely cold weather suddenly hit a government-sponsored 100 km marathon on May 22 in rugged northwest Gansu province.

The head of Jingtai County, where the race was held, was removed from his post, People’s Daily reported, citing a press briefing from investigators.

Other organizers held responsible included the mayor and Communist Party leader of Baiyin City, which has jurisdiction over Jingtai.

Other penalties imposed on officials included major unfitness ratings and disciplinary warnings.

Li Zuobi, the head of the Jingtai County party, fell from his apartment building on June 9 and died, state media reported, adding that the police had ruled out a homicide while Li’s death was still under investigation. ‘investigation.

It was not clear whether Li’s death was related to the ultramarathon or not.

Investigators said the tragedy was a public safety incident caused by extreme weather conditions, including high winds, heavy rains and plunging temperatures, as well as unprofessional organization and operation.

China’s sports administration announced last week that it was suspending all high-risk sporting events without a watchdog, established rules and clear safety standards.

Interrupted activities include mountain and desert track sports, wingsuit flying and super long distance running.


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