BEIJING - Touted as a celebration of sport, culture and national unity, the Ethnic Minority Games held in southwestern China descended into a farce of cross-dressing cheating and mob violence, state media reported.
Athletes representing China's 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, Xinhua news agency reported.
Results of the women's dragon-boat racing event were reviewed after athletes complained of "big women with Adam's apples", Xinhua said. Referees subsequently 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 in Yunnan province 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.
"I've never seen violence and ugliness like that," a reporter at the games told Xinhua.
The nationality games have been held eight times in Yunnan province, where 25 of the country's 56 ethnic minorities live.
"The tenet of the games is to develop the minorities' characteristic sports, build up their health and increase national unity," Ren Muzhen, the chief organiser, told Xinhua.