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Japanese welcome in marathon

By Tang Zhe (China Daily)

09:15, November 13, 2012

The Beijing Marathon did not refuse Japanese runners' applications, Shen Chunde, the vice-president of the Chinese Athletic Association (CAA), said in response to reports in the Japanese media.

Reports in Japan said online applications didn't list Japan among the nationality options, and attributed the omission to the countries' political relationship.

Shen said in an interview posted on the front page of CAA's website that the race has welcomed runners from every part of the world since its inception in 1981, and said Japanese entrants have not been blocked from the Nov 25 event.

"The Beijing Marathon has been an international event since it was launched in 1981, and the number of participants has grown from 100 people to 200 to 30,000 over the course of its more than 30 years' history," he said. "We welcome all runners, professionals and amateurs, who love the sport, from every country and region of the world, to apply for the event."

Shen said individual applications weren't open to Japanese runners because most applied in groups last year.

"According to last year's application situation, most of the Japanese runners applied via Japanese companies as groups, and few applied on-line individually," Shen said.

"Therefore, we used the same methods as last year to accept the applications of Japanese runners in groups, which is convenient for them because it allows them to take care of each other and collect competition numbers and suits together," he said.

The website opened individual applications to Japanese runners after the controversy arose.

"We noticed the reports in the Japanese media," Shen said. "Since Japanese runners are so enthusiastic to take part in the event as individual applicants, we decided we should open the channel for them.

"We are always eager for participants of all nationalities to feel the openness of Beijing and China."

The race will begin at Tian'anmen Square at 8:30 am on Nov 25, going through Dongcheng district, Xicheng district, Haidian district and Chaoyang district before ending up in the central area of Beijing Olympic Park.

In addition to the full marathon (42.195 km), the event also include a half marathon (21.0975 km) and mini marathon (4.2 km).

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