Sports festival in Shanghai attracts global enthusiasts
Published: Oct 17, 2021 10:45 PM
Participants of the 10K marathon on October 17, 2021. Photo: Courtesy of The 2021 Shanghai International Popular Sports Festival

Participants of the 10K marathon on October 17, 2021. Photo: Courtesy of The 2021 Shanghai International Popular Sports Festival

On the shore of the Huangpu River, hundreds of sports enthusiasts gathered at the famous Oriental Pearl Tower ready for a 10-kilometer marathon. On Sunday morning, participants started to walk or jog along the Huangpu River in the warm morning sunshine and breeze while enjoying the view on both sides of the most famous river in Shanghai.

As part of the 2021 Shanghai International Popular Sports Festival, the 10K marathon attracted some 800 participants, many of whom were expats living in the city, including diplomats and their families, overseas students, and foreign staff of Shanghai-based enterprises and institutions.

Israel Saraiva, Portuguese Consul General in Shanghai, said he likes walking and used to do it along the Huangpu River at his leisure. "Shanghai is an international and energetic city, very attractive city to foreigners," he told the Global Times on Sunday. "And to me, the Huangpu River is a symbol of Shanghai in some ways."

The route of the walking marathon passed by Shanghai's historical and modern landmarks, including the skyscrapers in Lujiazui financial hub, the time-honored exotic architecture at the Bund and the buildings at Shanghai Expo Park.

"Interested in the attractions in Shanghai, my family and I registered for this event," said Consul General of Cuba in Shanghai, Néstor Enrique Torres Olivera, who participated in the event with his wife and two children. "I'm looking forward to enjoying the beautiful architecture with my family, especially near the Bund," he added.

The marathon is a creative event that can help raise people's awareness of health and [practicing] sports, Olivera said, adding that "there are a lot of sports events held in Shanghai, and we often see local residents play sports together, not only in Shanghai, but also in many other Chinese cities." 

The International Popular Sports Festival attracted nearly 2,000 people who participated in various events over the weekend like Taekwondo, rope skipping and roller skating. The festival was co-hosted by the Shanghai Sports Federation and the Shanghai People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.

This was the 13th consecutive year that Shanghai organizes the festival. "We hope that by taking sports as a bond, individuals will be closely linked with the city and together build a healthier, happier and more harmonious sports atmosphere," said Zhao Guangsheng, a Shanghai official in a speech on Sunday.