An international SCO marathon was held in Cholpon-Ata on the shores of the picturesque Lake Issyk Kul on 11 May.
SCO Deputy Secretary-General Aizada Subakozhoyeva greeted the marathon participants on behalf of Secretary-General Vladimir Norov and underscored that the Issyk-Kul marathon was one of the large public events conducted during the Kyrgyz Republic's SCO chairmanship.
Ms Zhang Qin, the General Director of the Chinese company Yongnan Shanghe, an official partner of the SCO Secretariat in holding international marathons, noted that the picturesque Issyk Kul had brought together marathon running enthusiasts from different countries and reminded her of her native Kunming, the cradle of SCO marathons. "Although we are separated by a thousand rivers and mountains, the magic of the SCO marathon unites us," Ms Zhang Qin said.
Kanybek Osmonaliyev, a gold medal winner at the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics, a four-time world and two-time European weightlifting champion and a Kyrgyz sport legend, expressed his gratitude to the SCO for its healthy lifestyle outreach and emphasised that such events encouraged young athletes to strive for new achievements.
The SCO Issyk Kul Marathon has aroused great interest not only among athletes and sport lovers from the SCO family countries but also from Southeast Asia and Europe. Specifically, the event drew about 3,000 athletes from 27 countries, who competed in races of various distances: a full marathon (42.195km), a half marathon (21.097km), a 10km run, a 3km dash and a 3km Nordic walking event.
Adilet Kyshtakbekov from Kyrgyzstan (the 2017 Kunming marathon winner) won the marathon with a time of 02:26:40. Shokhrukh Davlyatov of Uzbekistan finished second in 02:28:53, and Andrei Petrov from Uzbekistan came third with 02:29:20.
The top female finishers included runners from Kyrgyzstan and China: Darya Maslova from Kyrgyzstan came first with 02:41:36, Yulia Andreyeva from Kyrgyzstan placed second with 02:42:32, and Pan Yingli of China finished third with 02:43:21.
Atop the men's half-marathon podium were athletes from China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan: China's Yang Le won the race in 01:08:49, Mikhail Krasilov from Kazakhstan came second with 01:09:28, and Zhoodar Kochkonbayev of Kyrgyzstan finished third with 01:10:09.
The fastest female half-marathon runners were from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan: Viktoria Polyudina from Kyrgyzstan was the winner with a time of 01:18:24, Nurkhon Mukkhidinova of Uzbekistan finished second with 01:22:33, and her compatriot Tamila Kuchkorova came third with 01:25:21.
The winners were awarded unique medals, memorable gifts and prize money.
The marathon was accompanied by exciting dance and music performances. Many visiting athletes were amazed by the snowy mountains, the purity of Issyk Kul and the hospitality of the organisers.