Chinese authorities have imprisoned the individuals responsible for hosting the ultramarathon event, wherein 21 participants tragically lost their lives.

Seven individuals sentenced to prison terms after extreme weather impacted the 2021 race in Gansu province

According to state media, organisers of a 2021 ultramarathon in north-west China, where 21 runners died due to severe weather conditions, have been sentenced to prison.

Xinhua, the state news agency, reported late on Friday that five individuals involved in planning the ill-fated event received jail sentences ranging from three to five and a half years by a court in Baiyin, a city in Gansu province, where the deaths occurred.

In May 2021, freezing rain, high winds, and hail turned the 100km (62-mile) cross-country mountain race into a tragic event.

Xinhua stated that the five defendants were found guilty of “organising a large-scale event that resulted in a significant safety incident”.

In the provincial capital, Lanzhou, an official was sentenced to four years and 10 months for “dereliction of duty and bribery”, while another received a three and a half year sentence for “dereliction of duty” alone, added Xinhua.

In recent years, long-distance running and other extreme sports have gained popularity in China as the government encourages exercise for all age groups. However, inadequate organization has frequently led to problems.

The deaths in 2021 raised concerns about why the organisers seemingly ignored the approaching extreme weather and sparked renewed demands for stricter laws governing sporting events.

Following the fatalities, China’s sport ministry announced the suspension of events without national safety standards, including mountain trail running, wingsuit flying, and ultra-long distance running.

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