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Chinese team caught cheating, stripped of medals at military sporting event

Soldiers of the Chinese People's Liberation Army 1st Amphibious Mechanized Infantry Division prepare to provide Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen with a demonstration of their capablities during a visit to the unit in China on July 12, 2011. Mullen is on a three-day trip to the country meeting with counterparts and Chinese leaders. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley/Released)
October 25, 2019

A Chinese military competition team won a brief moment of victory before revelations of extensive cheating methods cost the national team its event medals and resulted in the disqualification of the entire team.

The Chinese competition team was kicked out of the Military World Games amid accusations of cheating from six different participating European nations, according to Business Insider. The games were being hosted in Wuhan, China, causing the home team to be kicked out of the event held on their own turf.

The Chinese women’s team had won gold, silver, and fourth place in the women’s Middle Distance orienteering challenge while the men’s team took silver in the same event, however, it was discovered the Chinese team had altered the race course with pre-made paths that would allow their competitors to circumvent the orienteering challenges.

“The Middle Distance competition was unfortunately overshadowed by extensive cheating by the Chinese team,” the International Orienteering Federation (IOF), the competitive events’ governing body said in a press release.

The IOF determined the Chinese team had used not only the secret paths that only they were aware of, but that they had also received the assistance of spectators on the race course. The organization became aware of these cheating methods after formal complaints by the Russian, Swiss, French, Belgian, Polish, and Austrian national teams.

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The orienteering event was meant to be a foot race challenge for small teams to navigate complex terrain with a map and compass.

The long-distance orienteering event went on without the Chinese competitors and saw first place finishes by Russia for both the men’s and women’s event.

A jury panel for the event eventually voted to disqualify the team from the competition and stripped the home team of its ill-gotten medals. The IOF claimed it has already rejected an appeal by the Chinese team in its initial press statement detailing the cheating scandal.

The People’s Liberation Army and China’s Ministry of Defense declined a request for comment by Business Insider reporters.

The IOF is still working to finalize the contentious results of the middle distance event and in another statement released Friday, the IOF revealed it would be convening an ethics panel to review the incident.

Several nations compete in the Military World Games, an international event held every year with a variety of winter and summer challenge events.

The 2019 games were to be hosted by China from Oct. 18 to 27. Chinese president Xi Jinping did reportedly attend the opening ceremony.