A difficult turn: the track built with right angles in China.

A difficult turn: the track built with right angles in China. Photo: Supplied

Shanghai: Sports officials hoping to nurture young athletics talent in north-east China have put their rising stars at something of a disadvantage - by building a running track with right-angled corners. The track was completed recently as part of a major refurbishment of a stadium in Tonghe County, Heilongjiang province.

The stadium appears, in general, to have been given an impressive renovation, featuring an immaculately laid artificial grass football pitch at its centre. But the designers of the running track got their angles badly wrong - painting 90-degree corners on the track rather than the usual curves.

"It all looks jolly good - apart from the track, which doesn't really look up to standard," a bemused local resident told Newsnight, a regional television programme.

Track built with right angles in China in Tonghe County, Heilongjiang

Track built with right angles in China in Tonghe County, Heilongjiang Photo: Supplied

The programme dispatched a correspondent to examine the track's unconventional curvature. "I felt a bit strange at the turn," Li Xiao'ang, the reporter, said, after attempting his first on-screen lap. Xiao Gong, a local woman, was also invited to take a run. "It was quite tricky taking the corner," she said. "It would be easy to fall. Normally curves speed people up but these corners slow you down."

Stadium officials claimed their original track had featured curves but said the rubber surface had become worn down from overuse. When Communist Party leaders suddenly announced a visit, a quick makeover was necessary. Painting right angles was faster than painting curves, one official admitted.

Telegraph, UK