China has banned an official for one year after the leading runner at a marathon was directed the wrong way near the finish, in the latest incident to taint the sport in the country.
Long-distance and marathon running is booming in China, bringing with it a growing number of instances of brazen cheating or poor organisation.
The latest came at the Qingdao Marathon in Eastern China when Kenya's Biegon Andrew Kiplangat followed a guiding car down the wrong route with just 300 metres left in the race, according to Tencent Sports.
It published brief footage showing perplexed Kiplangat pausing before a man who appears to be a security guard shows him where to go.
Despite the mishap, Kiplangat won the marathon on May 4 in two hours, 22 minutes and 17 seconds, according to the official record.
That did not stop the Chinese Athletic Association (CAA) handing out a one-year ban to a marathon official for "dereliction of duty".
Huang Jianyi will not be allowed to oversee any marathons during that period, the CAA said.
"He didn't take the guide car to direct runners as required and didn't correctly guide the runner, resulting in the incident that the leading athlete ran the wrong way when he was about to sprint," said the CAA.
The CCA did not make clear exactly what role Huang played in the race's organisation.
In 2011 there were just 22 marathons, half-marathons or other running events in China, but that number rocketed to about 1,500 last year.
The surge has seen a spike in cheating, including three Chinese runners banned for life for breaking the rules at last month's Boston Marathon.
At a domestic marathon in March a woman was caught using a bicycle part of the way while dozens took shortcuts at the Shenzhen half-marathon in November.