On 28 August 2020, SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov, who is touring Kunming, met with a delegation from Yunnan Shang He Culture and Sports Co., Ltd. led by Executive Director Zhang Xin and Deputy Secretary General of the China Athletics Association, Shui Tao.
The event was held to present the 5th SCO Kunming International Marathon, the scale and format of which will depend on the epidemiological situation in China.
The plan includes a concept for the further promotion of the SCO marathon in China and other SCO countries, and the use of new technology for improving the format. One possible format of this year's marathon, which is unlikely to be a large-scale event due to the pandemic, is an online version to be held in December.
In addition, the participants discussed the possibility of so-called SCO marathon races with a limited number of runners (SCO Running Group) to be held simultaneously in several Chinese cities in October. This possibility is being discussed with the concerned sports organisations in China.
Ms Zhang Xin noted that these plans are aimed at promoting the SCO marathon and achieving the Organising Committee's main goal, which is to receive the Gold Label from World Athletics (IAAF).
The SCO Secretary-General thanked Ms Zhang Xin and her team for their professionalism and responsible attitude towards the SCO marathon and praised the proposed plan based on scientific achievements and best practices.
Vladimir Norov congratulated the event participants on the IAAF's awarding the Silver Label to the marathon. He noted that this IAAF decision was proof of the marathon's potential, popularity and compliance with international standards.
The SCO Secretary-General also mentioned the importance of promoting the marathon in all SCO countries by holding it at the site of the Eight Wonders of the SCO. He cited the first example of holding an SCO marathon on Lake Issyk Kul, one of the SCO's eight wonders, in May 2019.
Vladimir Norov also expressed support for the idea of a videoconference on the role of sports and traditional medicine in the further strengthening of healthcare systems.
The SCO Secretary-General spoke in praise of the contribution made by Yunnan Shang He Culture and Sports Co., Ltd. to the four previous SCO marathons and the other cultural events organised by the SCO Secretariat. In this context, he pointed out the importance of implementing the planned series of cultural and humanitarian events on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the SCO in 2021.
Mr Shui Tao noted that over 1,700 different marathons were held in China in 2019, adding that the Kunming marathon was in a league of its own due to its rich cultural programme and the participation of many countries. He reaffirmed the China Athletics Association's interest in continuing to provide support for this sports event.
During his tour of the region, Vladimir Norov visited Chengjiang where took part in the opening ceremony for small SCO marathon races. It included a symbolic race along Fuxian Lake by members of the city government and international marathon champions, as well as local residents.