China creates Silk Road Cykathlon competition

By Sun Xiaochen(chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2016-04-29 21:34:45

Participants compete at the Beijing leg of the 2016 Silk Road International Cykathlon Open at southeastern Beijing's Yizhuang Economic and Technical Development Area on Friday. [Photo by Sun Xiaochen/chinadaily.com.cn]

An international outdoor competition looks to enhance sports and cultural exchange along Maritime-Continental Silk Road countries.

The 2016 Silk Road International Cykathlon Open, an outdoor competition which features long-distance running, cycling and kayaking was launched at southeast Beijing's Yizhuang Economic and Technical Development Area on Friday. Its aim is to promote sports participation and friendship among international participants.

The innovative competition initiated by Beijing Cykathlon Sports Ltd last year was named by the combination of all the three events' abbreviated titles. It's expected to cater the growing passion for outdoor exercise among China's ever-increasing sports zealots in addition to triathlon, or ironman race.

This year's competition course for the elite group includes a 10km run, 30km cycling, and 3km kayaking. Participants in the amateur group will compete in a shorter and easier route: 5km run, 10km cycling, and 2km kayaking.

A total number of 120 participants including Chinese governmental servants, diplomatic officials from overseas and outdoor enthusiasts took part in the opening leg of this year's Open series on Friday.

Wang Wei, the deputy secretary general of the alliance, said the Open series will also reach out to be held in overseas countries in the alliance following its domestic legs to boost exchanges in multiple areas between China and hosting nations.

"The main purpose of the event is to promote the participation of outdoor exercise as well as cultural understandings among participants from around the globe as sport is the universal language for communication," Wang said at the opening ceremony of the event on Friday.

"As our country is pushing forward the Belt and Road Initiative together with neighboring countries to enhance regional cooperation, we believe the competition will make a contribution for its unique outdoor attraction to unite people together."

The Belt and Road Initiative, which refers to Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century MaritimeSilk Road, was first proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013. The national strategy aims to boost economic and trade cooperation among countries across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe by improving connectivity.

Ren Yifeng, president of Beijing Cykathlon Sports, said at least four overseas stops in New Zealand, Hungary, Nepal and Laos are under discussion with local authorities.

The competition was jointly organized by Beijing Cykathlon Sports and the Chinese office of United Nations Maritime-Continental Silk Road Cities Alliance.

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