Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Odawara City Employee Facing Penalties After Winning Local Road Race as Friend's "Double"

translated by Brett Larner

City officials in Odawara, Kanagawa announced on Mar. 26 that the 22-year-old male winner of a local road race held in Odawara on Mar. 10 has been stripped of his title after it was discovered that his friend, a 23-year-old Odawara city employee and former high school track teammate, had run in his place.  The officials said that the 23-year-old city worker will face penalties for running as a "double."

According to municipal officials, the actions in question took place at the city-organized 2000-runner Sontoku Road Race in the men's under-29 10 km division.  Just before the start of the race the 22-year-old experienced pain in one of his thighs and decided not to run.  His 23-year-old friend said, "I'll run instead," and ran wearing the 22-year-old's bib number.  The 22-year-old, who won the race last year, told him, "OK, but only as long as you don't make the podium."

After the 23-year-old won the race the 22-year-old took part in the award ceremony and received prizes.  The city's athletics bureau discovered the switch after a phone call alerted them that a "double" had actually won.  A city official commented, "The two of them did this on the spur of the moment without really thinking it through.  They have been very apologetic about it."

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