Chinese sports officials cut corners, creating rectangular running track

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Chinese sports officials cut corners by creating a rectangular running track to prepare the stadium in time for inspection

  • Bizarre circuit created by stadium officials ahead of official inspection
  • The project was late and the track was not finished
  • The decision was made to speed up the process – albeit with changes
  • The rectangular race track was found to be faster to build than an oval track

In an incredible example of foreshortening, sports officials in China built a rectangular running track because they feared they would not be done with an oval in time for a Communist Party inspection.

The bizarre circuit was built as part of a major renovation of a 10,000 square foot stadium in Tonghe County, northeast Heilongjiang Province.

Working under pressure to kick off the big budget project after falling behind schedule, officials made the decision to create a track with awkward 90-degree turns, as they would be easier to measure and plot before inspectors arrived. .

Rush: Stadium officials created the bizarre race track after a last-minute decision to inspect the overdue project by notoriously capricious Communist Party officials

Almost everything in the stadium is impressive – from the perfectly laid grass in the center of the sports field to the vastly improved seating facilities for spectators.

But there is one glaring problem that makes Tonghe County’s elegant stadium one of the strangest in the world.

Locals invited to test drive the new racetrack for an episode of the regional TV show Newsnight had little to say about its unorthodox design.

“Everything looks really good – except for the track which doesn’t quite look up to it”, The telegraph quoted a woman.

“It’s really weird… Normally, curves make people speed up, but those corners slow you down. It’s quite embarrassing, ”added another woman, who gave up her lap after struggling in the corners.

Hurry: Eager to complete the track before inspectors arrived, stadium officials ordered the construction of right-angle turns because they were faster to measure and plot than a curved circuit

Hurry: Eager to complete the track before inspectors arrived, stadium officials ordered the construction of right-angle turns because they were faster to measure and plot than a curved circuit

The official explanation for the odd track design was that the original oval track system had become so worn that it could no longer be used as a template for repainting.

A last-minute decision by Communist Party officials to visit the site meant that the tracks had to be hastily recreated, and it was decided that there was not enough time to measure an oval circuit.

Even stadium directors agree that the unorthodox conception is unlikely to spread, however.

“In order to prepare it for the rulers, we painted it like this … We think it’s ugly too but if the rulers don’t ask us to change it, what are we supposed to do?” one of them was cited.

Not impressed: Locals invited to test drive the new racetrack for an episode of the regional TV show Newsnight (pictured) had little to say about its unorthodox design

Not impressed: Locals invited to test drive the new racetrack for an episode of the regional TV show Newsnight (pictured) had little to say about its unorthodox design

Risk: Despite being the butt of many jokes, some experts have expressed concerns about the design.  They say it could cause serious injury to athletes - especially when they slow down quickly to make a tight turn.

Risk: Despite being the butt of many jokes, some experts have expressed concerns about the design. They say it could cause serious injury to athletes – especially when they slow down quickly to make a tight turn.

After appearing on the Newsnight show, the designers of the Tonghe County race track were widely ridiculed on Chinese social media website Weibo.

Despite being the butt of many jokes, some experts have expressed concerns about the design, saying it poses a risk of serious injury to athletes.

One theory is that it could cause career-threatening muscle damage when competitors hastily slow down to make tight turns, while another focuses on the increased risk of head-on collisions.

“It is impossible to run on such a surface,” said Zhang Yong, a long-distance runner, adding that the track was “an abomination” to his profession.


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