Saturday 20 September 2014

How To Cut Corners ... By Putting Them In

Q: How many lanes does a rectangular running track have?
A: Who cares! It's crap ... and hilarious.

Not for turning: A runner struggles to turn the corner of the running track. “It is difficult to turn and easy to fall,” a local resident said. Pic SCMP Pictures

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Hurried Chinese officials cut corners to rush out rectangular running track (SCMP; paywall)
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 July, 2014, 2:59pm

Agence France-Presse in Beijing

Chinese officials painted a rectangular running track at a stadium as they rushed preparations for a visit by their superiors, state media reported on Tuesday.

Pictures posted online showed the running surface had the normal oval shape, but the white lines marking out each runner’s lane were angled at 90 degrees.

Internet users leaped on the revelation.

Watch: Hurried Chinese officials rush out rectangular running track for superiors' visit

“Leaders, this is the newly developed right-angled running track,” wrote one poster on Weibo, imitating the tone of a lower-ranking Chinese official reporting to his superior.

“We have become the first country in the world to have such tracks! I believe [Chinese athletes] will outperform other countries’ [athletes] after scientific training on such a running track!”

China National Radio described the forestry administration stadium in Tonghe county, in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, as having “rectangular tracks” around the football pitch.

Curves in all the wrong places: Officials painted the rectangular running track as they rushed preparations for a visit by superiors. Photo: SCMP Pictures

“It is difficult to turn and easy to fall,” local resident Gong Xiaona told provincial television programme Newsnight.

It quoted a member of staff at the stadium as saying the previous track had become worn down by long use.

“The current tracks were laid in a rush to deal with the visit by some provincial leaders,” he said.

“We ourselves feel it’s ugly. But who can change it if our bosses don’t care?”

It is not unknown for local officials in China to come up with eccentric ideas to curry favour with their bosses or cope with inspections.

A publicly-funded orphanage in Jieyang in the southern province of Guangdong had its facilities transformed into government offices and dormitories, according to previous state media reports.

When provincial authorities mounted an inspection last year, social welfare officials attempted to borrow orphans from a nearby temple.

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