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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 October 2007, 11:15 GMT 12:15 UK
Mexico politician denies cheating
Former Mexican presidential candidate Roberto Madrazo crosses the finish line at the Berlin marathon, 30 September 2007
Mr Madrazo was photographed crossing the finishing line
A former Mexican presidential candidate who was disqualified from the Berlin marathon for taking a short cut has said he never meant to finish the race.

Roberto Madrazo had clocked the best time for his age category in Sunday's race - taking two hours 40 minutes.

But officials found he had skipped a nine mile (15km) section of the course.

The 55-year-old blamed political opponents for the furore surrounding the incident, which has seen him lampooned in his home country.

In sport there are no short-cuts, there are personal challenges
Roberto Madrazo
Race officials looked into the case after a photographer noticed Mr Madrazo finishing the race wearing a jacket and long running tights but hardly sweating.

They stripped him of his first-place title.

But Mr Madrazo has insisted he did not cheat.

"I had to stop after 21km and I went directly to the finish line for my clothes and my medal for taking part," Mr Madrazo said. "In sport there are no short-cuts, there are personal challenges."

'Mudslinging'

He also said political opponents were trying to tarnish his image and hinder his plans to set up a marathon-running foundation.

"It is political. By doing this, they are seeking to throw mud on a sporting activity that I have practiced for many years and on my new social project," Mr Madrazo said.

"My marathon times have been between three hours, 14 minutes and three hours, 54 minutes - never two hours and 40 minutes," Mr Madrazo said. "It would be impossible for a 55-year-old man to do that."

Mr Madrazo was a presidential candidate last year for the Institutional Revolutionary Party - the party whose 71 continuous years in power ended in 2000. He finished a distant third in the vote.

SEE ALSO
Calderon set for Mexico victory
04 Jul 06 |  Americas
Heavy fine for Mexico's PRI
15 Mar 03 |  Americas



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