Samaranch Junior, son of the former Olympics Chief, Juan Antonio Samaranch, and Vice President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), served as the “Honorary Advisor to the Chengdu International Marathon”. Behind this was a touching story about inheritance of sports in a span of 31 years. In 1988, Juan Antonio Smaranch, the then President of the IOC, attempted to sponsor a sport event in Western China. Under the recommendation of He Zhenlian, a member of the then IOC Executive Committee, Mr. Samaranch donated in his own name 10,000 USD to hold the first marathon participated by around 10,000 persons in Chengdu. In retrospect of this historic event, Samaranch Junior said, “To my father, sponsorship for holding marathons in Chengdu and other actions to boost development China’s sport undertaking are of vital significance. Therefore, his donation for the marathon in Chengdu was a representative effort to achieve the goal.”
On the Dongfeng Nissan 2017 Chengdu International Marathon, Samaranch Junior carried forward his father’s link with Chengdu Marathon. In the early September of this year, the official meet-and-greet was launched. The Organizing Committee of the Dongfeng Nissan 2017 Chengdu International Marathon donated to the Samaranch Foundation, the latter of which has been long committed to funding schools in China’s poverty-stricken areas. Samaranch Junior pointed out that the donation would be used to buy sport equipment and supplies for local schools in Chengdu so as to popularize the healthy lifestyle of always keeping moving and to promote development of Chengdu’s sport undertaking. “The Samaranch Foundation highly appreciates the donation from the Organizing Committee, and we promise that we will become the most loyal partner of Chengdu Marathon,” added Samaranch Junior.
In 2016, more than 2.8 million Chinese runners ran through 133 cities in 30 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in China. 328 marathons and other relevant sport events were registered with the Chinese Athletic Association in 2016 alone. This meant there were six marathons held on average every week. Marathons have also started getting popular in China’s first-tier cities and provincial cities, and even sprung up like mushrooms in medium-and small-sized cities. To fuel economic development through marathons–this is a shared goal of all these marathon-holding cities. Chengdu, a new first-tier city of Southwest China, has also joined China’s map of marathons.
Chengdu is a famous city in China with a profound history and splendid culture. Apart from a world tourist destination, Chengdu has also been the first city authorized by the UNESCO as a “City of Gastronomy”. Here, traditional culture and fashion reinforce each other; history and modern civilization coexist with each other harmoniously. Now, Chengdu is vigorously building itself into a national central city in full accordance with the new development concept, and Chengdu International Marathon has received wide attention from the rest of the world. Following the successful conclusion of the Dongfeng Nissan 2017 Chengdu International Marathon, China’s major cities have ushered in the era of “one city, one marathon” or “one city, multiple marathons”, and the marathon industry is still booming in China.
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SOURCE Chengdu Economic Daily
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