The 2021 Tien Phong Newspaper National Marathon Championship, organized in Pleiku City in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai on March 26-28, is a top sporting event that has been integrated into Vietnam’s official athletics competition system, offering a chance for amateur runners to win an opportunity to compete at the coming Southeast Asian Games scheduled for November-December in Hanoi.

The championship attracted the participation of nearly 5,000 runners, including 300 professional athletes from the local athletics teams of Vietnamese cities and provinces.

The remaining participants were Vietnamese amateurs and foreigners living and working in Vietnam.

The runners competed in the four distances of 5km, 10km, 21km, and 42km.

In the women’s 21km category for the age of 45 and older, Ngo My Lien, with bib number 81896, was initially named the winner.

However, many runners later reported that Lien had cheated.

After verifying the reports, the organizing board discovered that Lien had given her bib to a male runner named Le Duc Ke, the one that actually finished first in the 21km race for women.

With clear evidence collected from camera footage of the competition, the organizing board decided to cancel Lien’s result and strip all titles and awards that she had received thanks to such cheating.

Lien will also be forbidden from participating in the next editions of the Tien Phong Newspaper National Marathon Championship.

The organizing board ordered her to return all of the prizes, including cash, medals, and gifts within five working days from Wednesday.

Past the deadline, the organizing board will carry out necessary legal procedures against Lien.

In addition, the board decided to cancel the results of Le Duc Ke, who had also competed in other categories at the championship.

At the same time, Ke will be permanently banned from competing at the Tien Phong Newspaper National Marathon Championship.

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