Beijing half marathon winner thrown out after trio slowed to let him win

Organisers have revoked He Jie’s first place in the Beijing half marathon last weekend after an investigation confirmed that three other runners had slowed down to let him win the race. All four were disqualified and had to return their medals and prize money. Online users in China had shared the video from the final moments of Sunday’s race out of suspicion that it had been rigged. The footage showed three African runners letting He, China’s top long-distance runner, move ahead of them shortly before they were about to reach…

‘This journey has been not easy’: Zhou relishing home debut in F1 Chinese GP

There has been no little wait for the home crowd and their local hero Zhou Guanyu but what a moment it will be when, finally, this weekend he becomes the first Chinese driver to compete at the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai. Already the star of a documentary, the only Chinese driver to compete in an F1 race is the main draw for a meeting that sold out in minutes. This race has not been held since 2019 because of the pandemic and while the 24-year-old Zhou made his F1…

Beijing half marathon hit by controversy as China’s He Jie allowed to win

Organisers of the Beijing half marathon are investigating the men’s race after two Kenyans and one Ethiopian runner appeared to deliberately allow China’s He Jie to win. Footage of the final few hundred metres of the race seemingly shows Robert Keter and Willy Mnangat of Kenya and Ethiopia’s Dejene Hailu Bikila slow down and gesture in front of them, encouraging He to pass and take the lead. The four athletes, who had run together for the whole race, then ran side by side to the finish line, before the three…

Yolo review – smash-hit Chinese boxing drama is a tale of personal transformation

Jia Ling writes, directs and stars in this boxing drama with a twist: there’s not really very much boxing in it. In this smash hit from China, we’re introduced to Du Leying (Jia) as a no-hoper; the perspective, in fact, of the supporting characters and the film itself is that it would be hard to imagine a bigger loser. She’s 32, lives at home, doesn’t adhere to traditional beauty norms (particularly as regards body weight), and her boyfriend is cheating on her with her best friend. When this affair is…

Former head of China football association jailed for life for taking bribes – state media

The former chief of China’s national football association, Chen Xuyuan, has been sentenced to life in prison for accepting bribes, state media reported on Tuesday, after one of the biggest anti-corruption probes in the sport in years. The severe sentence for Chen, 67, concludes an inquiry into high-level football officials in China in a sport that has long grappled with corruption, which fans have blamed for the perpetual under performance of the national team. In the last episode of a four-part documentary series on corruption aired on national television in…

Lionel Messi: fans refunded in Hong Kong after anger over Tokyo appearance

The organiser of Inter Miami’s ill-fated match in Hong Kong, in which star player Lionel Messi failed to appear, said it would offer refunds of 50%, after the Hong Kong government as well as football fans harshly criticised the event. The refunds will cost Tatler Asia, a magazine and lifestyle brand, $56m HKD (£5.7m). Messi’s failure to play in the much-hyped friendly match on Sunday, because of a groin injury, sparked outrage in Hong Kong, with fans booing the 36-year-old player for not coming on to the pitch. The controversy…

Lionel Messi: outcry in China and Hong Kong after star returns from injury in time for Japan match

Chinese state media, Hong Kong politicians and fans have cried foul after Lionel Messi played in a match in Japan, just days after he stayed on the bench for a highly-anticipated match in Hong Kong. Many in Hong Kong were dismayed on Sunday when the 36-year-old Argentinian player did not come on to the field during a much-hyped Inter Miami fixture to a sell-out crowd with fans demanding answers and a refund. Miami’s head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino said Messi was deemed unfit to play in Sunday’s match in the…

Snookered by China? Masters tournament owner plots Asia expansion

The owner of the Masters snooker tournament is plotting an expansion trail across Asia after the pandemic exposed the company’s reliance on China, its chair has said. Steve Dawson, who chairs World Snooker, said it was considering staging tournaments in India, Pakistan, Malaysia and Thailand, after its business was held back by three years of Beijing-imposed Covid lockdowns. He also hopes young players in the sport can take inspiration from 16-year-old Luke Littler’s astonishing run to the PDC World Darts Championship final, which is also run by World Snooker’s owner…

Hong Kong beat China at football for first time in 29 years

Hong Kong have beaten China for the first time in 29 years in a friendly football match in Abu Dhabi. Hong Kong’s 2-1 victory over China comes as the former British colony prepares to participate in the Asian Cup for the first time since 1968, when the territory was still under British rule. Hong Kong was passed over from British to Chinese rule in 1997 and is now a “special administrative region” of the People’s Republic of China. But under the terms of the handover agreement, the territory is permitted…

Gay Games delight Hong Kong amid China’s growing hostility to LGBTQ+ community

After months of pandemic-related delays, Asia’s first Gay Games was held in Hong Kong last week, with nearly 2,400 athletes competing. At the opening ceremony, Regina Ip, the convenor of Hong Kong’s executive council, said the competition represented the city’s commitment to “equal opportunity and non-discrimination”, and praised Hong Kong’s courts for the “numerous judgments” handed down in favour of the LGBTQ+ community in the past decade. This was met with bemusement by activists and lawyers, who pointed out that Ip’s government has opposed each of those judgments, losing in…