On 27 August 2017, Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, will play host to the SCO and the CICA International Marathon. The large-scale sports event will be one of the main cultural and entertainment events of the SCO Day celebrations at the EXPO 2017 Astana international specialised exhibition.
The official presentation of the SCO and CICA International Marathon took place on 10 July 2017 in the editorial office of Renmin Ribao in Beijing. It was broadcast live on its website to an online audience of over one million people.
In his speech at the ceremony, SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov noted that the Astana International Marathon will proudly continue the friendly traditions established by the SCO's first marathon in China's Kunming. "We remember well moments from the SCO marathon in ‘the city of eternal spring' on 17 December 2016, when 16,000 athletes from 23 countries stood together on the starting line," Mr Alimov said.
He recalled that the SCO summit, which produced historic decisions, completed its work in Astana a month ago. "On 10 June the EXPO 2017 international exhibition opened in the capital of Kazakhstan. There are over 100 national pavilions at the exhibition, including the SCO's. The SCO members decided to hold SCO Day at the EXPO on 27 August 2017. "With the support of the Government of the Republic ofKazakhstan we have decided to turn this day into a large-scale sports and entertainment event — the International Marathon. It can unite better than any other event ‘the energy of the Shanghai and sports spirits.' We have no doubt that the Astana International Marathon will proudly continue the friendly traditions established by the SCO's first marathon in China's Kunming," Mr Alimov said.
The presentation ceremony was also attended by CICA Executive Director Gong Jianwei and Chairman of the Committee on Sports and Physical Fitness of the Republic at Kazakhstan's Ministry of Culture and Sports Ilsiyar Kanagatov.
In his speech Mr Kanagatov, who is also the Chairman of the Marathon Organising Committee, described the details of the marathon and the large-scale preparations for it by the Government of Kazakhstan and the Astana City Council. He noted that in the three months of the EXPO 2017 the Kazakh Government planned over 20 large events, the main of which are the International Marathon and the CICA. "The route of the marathon has already been planned and endorsed by the International Association of Athletics Federations," Mr Kanagatov said.
The official video of the SCO Pavilion at EXPO-2017 under the title "The Energy of the Shanghai Spirit" and a short video clip on the forthcoming SCO-CICA marathon were played at the presentation.
The official website of the SCO and the CICA International Marathon (http://www.sco-marathon.com/) was launched on 9 July. One can register on it to participate in this sports event. In less than a day and a half about 200 have registered.
On the eve of the presentation ceremony, Mr Alimov met with Editor-in-Chief of the Renmin Ribao website Yu Qingchu to discuss information cooperation between the SCO Secretariat and Renmin Ribao, in particular, its participation in covering the SCO and the CICA International Marathon.
The presentation ceremony was attended by Mr Yu Qingchu, permanent representatives of the SCO member-states at the SCO Secretariat, high-ranking diplomats from the embassies of the "SCO family" states and CICA participants, representatives of the Department of Sports of Yunnan and the directors of the Yunnan Sports and Culture Company Shanghe and the International Exhibition Company Shanghai Art Fair, which are continuing as active and reliable partners of the SCO Secretariat in cultural and humanitarian cooperation for the second year running. The event attracted much attention of sports fans and was broadly covered by the Chinese and foreign media.