The Spanish athlete Camilo Santiago, suspended for six months for exchanging his number with the Honduran Iván Zarco


The Spanish athlete Camilo Santiago and the Honduran Iván Zarco Álvarez have been suspended for a period of six months from competition, by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), due to having exchanged bib numbers during a race held on March 21, 2021.

The AIU, an independent management entity that is covered by the International Athletics Federation (World Athletics), has confirmed this sanction this Friday through a press release. The suspension is in force from February 9, 2023 until August 8.

In its note, the AIU has indicated that Santiago and Zarco violated the World Athletics Integrity Code of Conduct and also its Rules for Manipulation of Sports Competitions. His illegality occurred in the Itelligence Citylauf Invitational marathon, held in Dresden (Germany) two years ago.

“The day after the event, the Spanish running website published an online article stating that Santiago competed in the marathon with Zarco’s number,” the press release stressed.

“On March 23, 2021, Santiago tweeted an apology, stating that he had no bad intentions and that Zarco suggested that he use his bib to run the marathon since Zarco suffered from plantar fasciitis. That same day, Zarco contacted World Athletics requesting that the result of the marathon be attributed to Santiago”, the note added.

“Santiago and Zarco told the AIU investigation that Santiago’s bag (containing his bib number) disappeared just before the race and they explained to the race organizers that Santiago would run with Zarco’s bib number,” the note continued.

Meanwhile, marathon organizers said during the investigation that “no official would have indicated that an athlete could exchange race bibs” and that “there were number printing facilities at the marathon starting point.”

“Mr. Zarco’s and Mr. Santiago’s accounts of events were directly inconsistent with other evidence and did not demonstrate an honest attempt to correct the marathon results, particularly in circumstances where Mr. Zarco should have known that the result in question would have been a Honduran national record,” the AIU note quoted.

“The fact that Mr. Zarco and Mr. Santiago exchanged numbers and were publicly caught on a website shows that their conduct was unreasonable and discredited the sport,” the text added. “The exchange of numbers was an intentional arrangement with the purpose of altering the results of the marathon,” the AIU has settled.