Participants wait at the starting line of the International Issyk-Kul Marathon of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) "Run the Silk Road" in Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan, on May 11, 2019. (Web photo)
The International Issyk-Kul Marathon of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) "Run the Silk Road" started Saturday in the resort town of Kyrgyzstan in Cholpon-Ata, which is in the north of the country.
The sportsmen competed in three categories: the marathon - 42km 195m, the half marathon - 21km, 10km, and the Scandinavian walk 3km.
The opening ceremony was attended by officials of Kyrgyzstan and representatives of the SCO Secretariat.
First Deputy Chief of the Kyrgyz President's Office Almaz Kenenbaev read out the message of President Sooronbai Jeenbekov. In his message, the President said that the Issyk-Kul International Marathon will become an annual tradition and a celebration of friendship of the peoples of the SCO member states.
The Kyrgyz President wished all participants a successful start, bright victories, strong team spirit and great sporting achievements.
Deputy Secretary General of the SCO, Aizada Subakozhoeva greeted the participants of the event on behalf of the SCO Secretary General Vladimirov Norov. She noted that the Issyk-Kul SCO Marathon is one of the most important, large-scale cultural events that are held as part of the chairmanship of the Kyrgyz side in the SCO.
"It is gratifying to note that the marathon has aroused great interest not only among the representatives of the SCO countries, but also from the states of Southeast Asia and Europe," Subakozhoeva said. She also expressed confidence that it will become an integral part of the international SCO marathons.
Deputy Director of the State Agency for Youth Affairs, Phisical Culture and Sports of Kyrgyzstan Kanatbek Arpachiev told Xinhua that the marathon is holding in Kyrgyzstan for the 8th time and this time it is conducing with support of the SCO.
He noted that the Kyrgyz side plans to further cooperate with the Chinese side on conducting such joint events.
More than 2,000 people from 27 countries and regions took part in the marathon.
China's Yang Le won the men's half marathon race and Pan Yinli finished third in the women's marathon.
The total prize of the SCO Marathon is more than 40,000 US dollars.