The Beijing marathon returns after a two-year hiatus due to Covid

The Beijing marathon returns after a two-year hiatus due to Covid
The Beijing marathon returns after a two-year hiatus due to Covid

The Beijing marathon returns after a two-year hiatus due to Covid

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Beijing (AFP) – About 30,000 runners, some wearing masks, took part in the Beijing Marathon on Sunday despite the resurgence of the Covid-19 epidemic, two years after the event was suspended due to the epidemic.

The marathon started in a festive atmosphere on Tiananmen Square, with participants holding the Chinese flag in one hand and hats in the other. Hundreds of curious people lined up along the street to cheer them up in a gloomy atmosphere.

“I fulfilled my dream today,” Gao Lixiang, who is taking part in the first race since February’s Winter Olympics in the Chinese capital, told AFP.

“I started running about a year ago. I never stopped preparing for this first marathon,” explained the 31-year-old.

“I am very pleased that several marathons have been canceled because of the pandemic,” said Niu Yarrow, another 34-year-old wearing a black T-shirt.

Three years after the outbreak of the Covid epidemic in Wuhan (centre), the authorities are still trying to prevent the virus from spreading.

Unlike previous tournaments, which attracted many foreigners, only Beijing-based athletes could participate in the start.

The winner, Anupaek Kwan, who hails from Xinjiang (Northwest), reached the Olympic Park with a time of 2 hours 14 minutes 34 seconds. The last edition of the Beijing Marathon dates back to 2019.

Shanghai soon

The event was supposed to take place last year but was canceled three months before the Beijing Olympics to avoid a coronavirus outbreak.

The Beijing marathon returns after a two-year hiatus due to Covid
jade gao

China is pursuing a strict health policy against COVID, with residents subject to regular screening and those who test positive being quarantined or even banned as soon as infections are detected.

The Asian country has also drastically reduced international flights since 2020 in a bid to limit the entry of travelers who are potential carriers of the virus.

This situation has hampered the ambitions of China, which has established itself over two decades as a major host of the world’s major sporting events, from the Olympic Games to Formula 1 racing to the world championships in basketball and track and field.

Despite the strict “zero Covid” policy, the country has recorded the highest number of infections since May in recent days, but significantly less than the rest of the world.

More than 4,000 other injuries were registered in the country on Sunday, including 49 in Beijing.

Several marathons are scheduled for this month, including the Shanghai marathon on Nov. 27, the city’s first major sporting event since it closed for two months in the spring.


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