On 5 November 2017, Zhiyengzhuang, the state residence in Kunming, hosted the presentation of SCO-2017 Marathon, which will be held in the City of Eternal Spring, Kunming, the administrative centre of the PRC's Yunnan Province, on 31 December 2017.
At the presentation there were delegations of professional athletes and amateur runners, over 200 Chinese and international media representatives, officials from Kunming as well as the Yunnan administrations, plus high-ranking invitees. Nearly twenty teams that included thousands of amateur runners, representatives of companies, production and professional unions, as well as public organisations sent their top managers. Volunteers welcomed the guests at the entrance against the backdrop of the marathon flags and politely accompanied them through the main hall housing a photo exhibition dedicated to the first SCO marathon held in Kunming in December 2016.
Designed in a traditional Chinese style, the room was plunged into semi-darkness and a short film was presented to the accompaniment of solemn music. The film was dedicated to the merger of the Shanghai Spirit and the ethos of sports, which is spreading across Eurasia, reaching out to the most remote parts of the world. It is bringing together like-minded people, sport lovers together with supporters of equitable and respectful athletic competitions to the Second International SCO-2017 Marathon scheduled to be held in the city of Kunming.
Kunming Deputy Mayor Wang Jiangying spoke on behalf of the Marathon Organising Committee. She stressed that the upcoming sports event would be a major festivity that would attract representatives from different nations to the City of Eternal Spring. "The Organising Committee's efforts will be directed at creating maximally comfortable conditions for the athletes and guests at the SCO-2017 Marathon," she said.
The focal point at the presentation was the address made by SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov, who stressed in particular that "the main mission of the international SCO-2017 Marathon is to make people from different countries and continents, representatives of different cultures and civilisations, ethnicities and traditions closer as well as more akin to each other. The SCO member states are united in their striving to strengthen friendship and mutual understanding between peoples and to promote joint harmonious development in the name of universal prosperity without divides and unfair stereotypes. The SCO Marathon is an example of streams of athletes from different countries merging in a beautiful river that is rushing towards the finishing line of success," he said.
Mr Alimov also mentioned plans that went beyond the sports event itself, namely the launching of a new cultural and sports platform. "On 30 December we are organising a special sports ground that will become a venue where people will be taught the technique of running and sports exercises. It is due to help the Marathon participants and all those aspiring to a healthy lifestyle to maintain and strengthen their health plus physical condition," he stressed.
The SCO-2017 Marathon will culminate in a gala concert including spectacular performances together with a stage sketch called "Rhymes of Spring."
"Today, the SCO Marathon flag is returning to Kunming and is fluttering in the wind high above the city. It will symbolise unity of athletes from all over the world, who share the Shanghai Spirit principles and are ready to conquer heights and achieve their dreams," he stressed.
Eight representatives of the SCO member states put the palms of their hands on a specialised indicator panel, thus launching the Marathon countdown. This symbolic act opened the registration for all those wishing to participate in the SCO-2017 Marathon.
The presentation was relayed live online by Renmingwang.
The SCO Marathon is a mass-scale cultural and sports event organised by the SCO Secretariat in cooperation with the administrations of the Yunnan Province and the city of Kunming and with support from partner companies and volunteers. The event is aimed at popularising sports and healthy lifestyles as well as the principles of equitable and mutually respectful sports competition.
The first SCO Marathon was held in December 2016 and became a large-scale cultural and sports event involving over 15,000 people from 23 countries.