China starts "Plateau Development Plan" to train distance runners

15:27, March 20, 2011      

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China has started its "Plateau Development Plan" to train long-distance and marathon runners in its western plateau regions of Guizhou, Yunnan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces, an official said here on Sunday.

After two years' efforts and preparation, parts of the regions have started implementing the plan, Hu Xinming, the director of No.1 training department of Athletics Administrative Center of the General Administration of Sport of China, told Xinhua.

The General Administration of Sport of China is cooperating with local sports associations to provide training for coaches and investment funds to support the plan. Boys and girls aging 12 to 13 years old are selected from local regions for the long-distance training program.

"Athletes from plateau regions have physiological advantage in distance running. For instance, at present, the best distance and marathon runners are from plateau areas of Kenya, Ethiopia," Hu said.

Distance running requires great endurance, however, the competitive level is too much low in China, except for one or two good runners who showed up occasionally in recent years.

"We will make a breakthrough if we train the talented athletes at plateau regions," Hu said.

According to the "Plateau Development Plan", distance running competitions are organized in four provinces to pick up the potential runners.

Moreover, the General Administration of Sport of China is considering setting up a national distance running team, with all members to be selected from the plan.

And the young athletes will receive systematic training for five years, the official said.

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