Marathons must be better managed
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Marathons have become increasingly popular in China and many cities are keen on holding a marathon to help build their image. As a result more and more marathon organizing companies have emerged and are competing to make money from these events. But the organizers should be more professional and avoid inappropriate behavior that undermines the sporting spirit and creates an unhealthy marathon culture. ThePaper.cn comments:
In the 13th Nanning International Marathon held on Sunday, an Ethiopian runner who reached the finishing line first was suddenly dragged to stop by an organizing committee staff member immediately after he crossed the line, which provoked heated public controversy.
A personnel of Nanning Sports Bureau said that it was done to protect the runner because he almost collapsed at the end of the race. But many people argue that bringing a runner to a sudden stop like that may be harmful.
Even though the actions of organizing committee staff were well-intentioned, they should be criticized for unprofessional behaviors that may be harmful to the runners.
In recent years, marathons have become a popular sporting event nationwide. In 2017, there were 1,102 marathon races in 234 cities among 31 provinces, municipalities and regions on the Chinese mainland, and the total number of participants was more than 4.98 million.
But a successful marathon requires good organization. Which is not always the case as the capabilities of many of China's race organizers still lag far behind those of their counterparts in many other countries.
In the Suzhou Taihu Marathon on Nov 18, He Yinli came second after she was knocked out of her stride because she was interrupted by volunteers who insisted on handing the national flag to her before she reached the finishing line.
After that incident, the Chinese Athletic Association issued an announcement that requires marathon organizing committees to strictly implement race rules and stressed that any ceremony or activity should not influence or interfere with a race.
Marathon organizers should be more professional in promoting and managing these sport events to cultivate a healthy marathon culture in China.