World Athletics official hails China as contributor to marathon development

(Xinhua) 15:47, January 06, 2024

XIAMEN, China, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- World Athletics Road Running Manager Alessio Punzi has hailed China as a great contributor to the world marathon development.

Punzi, who came here to attend the fifth China Marathon Expo, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on Friday that since 1981 when the Beijing Marathon debuted, a road running market in China has been built, improved and mature.

"Now, there is a road running event boom in China," he added.

According to the Chinese Athletics Association, the year 2023 witnessed 580 official marathons in China with 5.5 million participants.

"The Chinese Athletics Association has a certain job to control that, creating regulations, creating guidelines on the practice for the harmonious development of the marathons," said Punzi.

"Also, running plays an important role in the Healthy China Policy, which is seen by the central government and the local government. They are very positive for the continuing growing of the sports," he added.

"Not every country in the world has the resources that China has, has the organization that China has, and masters all forces of society to guarantee a safe running event," Punzi said.

"It would really be important that if more of the rest of the world organizers came here to see how the Chinese organize the marathons because it is second to none," he noted.

In Punzi's opinion, alongside with the development of running events comes to the development of the industry.

"We have seen in the past couple of years that Chinese running companies, some of the biggest shoe manufacturers in this country are really taking growing interest in running," he pointed out.

"The more money come in, the more competitions are held for top athletes. There are a lot of resources coming into the sport, with a lot of innovation, even technological innovation coming out of the marathon," he added.

As the Chinese Lunar New year is coming, Punzi wishes the Chinese marathon runners and operators keeping up with the good work.

The three-day China Marathon Expo, which is also the 2024 Fujian provincial road running industry expo, opened in Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian Province, on Thursday.

(Web editor: Zhao Tong, Kou Jie)


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