Beijing marathon open to Japanese, Chinese Athletic Association insists
The Chinese Athletic Association yesterday denied it had barred Japanese runners from the Beijing International Marathon following complaints that their nationality was not included as an option on the online registration form for this year's race.
"The Beijing marathon has never refused Japanese marathon enthusiasts. The Beijing marathon has been open to marathon enthusiasts from every country and region since its inauguration," Shen Chunde, the association's deputy director, said on its website.
Japanese media reported earlier that runners had been barred from the November 25 event amid rising tensions over a territorial dispute. The online registration form was updated to include Japanese as a nationality option after the country's embassy in Beijing lodged a protest, the Yomiuri daily and Jiji Press said.
However, the association offered a different explanation.
"As far as last year's registration was concerned, it was rare that Japanese runners signed up online individually. Basically, they applied through Japanese enterprises," Shen was quoted by Xinhua as saying.
"So this year, we remained open to group registration … [and] there was no registration option for individual Japanese runners," he said. "However, since Japanese runners … would like to apply as individuals, we will open this channel."