For a city that has traditionally struggled to provide genuine diversity in its non-gaming offerings, the opportunity to host a truly international sporting event is one that should be jumped at.
So it beggars belief that, for the second time in just a few years, the Macau International Marathon has been tarnished by an inexplicable oversight.
The Macau Daily Times reported on Friday that 35-year-old Kenyan runner won the 2014 Macau International Marathon while she was supposed to be serving a six-month ban for doping. Chepchirchir had been banned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after testing positive to a banned substance at the Birell Prague Grand Prix Marathon in the Czech Republic on 6 September 2014.
Incredibly, her tainted victory came just two years after competitors in the 2012 Macau International Marathon accidentally ran an extra three kilometers following a wrong turn by the two race leaders, which was not corrected by race officials.
Competition director Chan Pou Si said at the time, “It was planned that the athletes should turn left … instead, the two leading ones turned right and the other 2,000 runners followed them.”
While the Macau marathon is far from the first international race to unknowingly have banned competitors run and win, it certainly comes as an unwanted black eye following the embarrassment of 2012. And when we’re talking about an event that fits so perfectly into the government’s push to diversify Macau, it’s the sort of error organizers simply can’t afford to make.