Cross-dressing taints Chinese games

Beijing, Sept 29 | Updated: Sep 30 2006, 05:30am hrs
Touted as a celebration of sport, culture and national unity, the Ethnic Minority Games held in China descended into a farce of cross-dressing cheating and mob violence, the state media reported.

Athletes representing Chinas 55 ethnic minorities assembled in southwestern Yunnan province last week to compete in blow-pipe darts, horse-riding events and other traditional sports. But blind pursuit of victory lead to some unorthodox tactics, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Results of the womens dragon-boat racing event were reviewed after athletes complained of big women with Adams apples, Xinhua said.

Referees found that several of the competitors were actually men wearing wigs.

A dispute between a team from the games host city, Zhaotong, and another from Wenshan city over the result of a wrestling final turned into a brawl, Xinhua said.

The Wenshan team was eventually chased away by a local gang with blades and sticks called in by the Zhaotong team, Xinhua said. Ive never seen violence and ugliness like that, a reporter said.

"The tenet of the games is to develop the minorities characteristic sports, build up their health and increase national unity, said chief organiser Ren Muzhen.