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China punishes 27 officials after deadly ultramarathon kills 21 participants



China has punished 27 officials believed to be responsible for last month’s ultramarathon deaths, the state-run People’s Daily said Friday, one of the world’s deadliest sports tragedies in recent history.

21 people died of hypothermia when extremely cold weather suddenly fell on a government-organized 100km marathon on May 22 in the harsh northwestern province of Gansu.

The leader of Jingtai County, where the race was being held, was fired from her position, the People̵

7;s Daily reported, citing a news briefing by investigators.

Other organizers held accountable included the mayor and the Communist Party chief of the city of Baiyin, to which Jingtai’s jurisdiction belongs.

Other penalties imposed on officials included major write-downs and disciplinary warnings.

Li Zuobi, party leader in Jingtai County, fell from his apartment building on June 9 and died, state media reported, adding that police have ruled out killings while Li’s death is still being investigated.

It was not clear if Li’s death was linked to the ultramarathon.

Investigators said the tragedy was a public safety incident caused by extreme weather, including strong winds, heavy rain and deep temperatures, as well as unprofessional organization and operation.

China’s sports administration said last week that it suspended all high-risk sporting events that lack a regulator, established rules and clear safety standards.

The stopped activities include mountain and desert trail sports, winguit flying and ultra-long distance running.


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