Strengthening bilateral ties through sports

Looking to the future: Nazri (second from right) presenting a souvenir to Chinese Athletic Association chairman Duan Shijie after launching the Belt and Road Marathon Series 2017 – Malaysia Marathon in Beijing. With them are Duan’s deputy Du Zhaocai (left) and Tourism and Culture Ministry deputy secretary-general (tourism) Nor Yahati Awang.

BEIJING: Malaysian and Chinese athletes are joining hands in friendship through sports in line with the Belt and Road initiative, which promotes globalisation.

To kick it off, they have jointly organised the Belt and Road Marathon Series 2017 – Malaysia Marathon, in the hope that the event will catch on in other parts of the world.

Proposed in China last year, it will be held in Malaysia later this year.

“We will rope in more countries later,” said Julius See of Wisdom Sports, which is organising the event with the support of the Tourism and Culture Ministry, Kuala Lumpur City Hall and Chinese Athletic Association.

He said the race would be held at Dataran Merdeka on Oct 1, which is also China’s National Day.

At the launch ceremony yesterday, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said sports tourism had the potential to grow and could be promoted as a new product for Malaysia.

“We hope to attract 15,000 participants from within the country and 5,000 from overseas,” he said, adding that Malaysia was targeting revenue totalling RM40mil from the event.

Nazri said 2.12 million Chinese tourists visited Malaysia last year.

He also witnessed the signing of an agreement for Malaysia to host the Belt and Road Film Cultural Festival and the Fourth Asia Rainbow TV Awards in March next year.

It was signed by Malaysia’s Juviter Group, Asia Rainbow TV Awards Committee and China Alliance of Radio, Film and Television Production Committee.

Previously, Malaysian Lee Ali won the Outstanding Cinematography award for the documentary Everest: 60th Anniversary in 2014 while Linger, the theme song for the Mandarin TV series Age of Glory 2 sung by Yise Loo, won Best Theme Song in 2011.

Nazri welcomed filmmakers to shoot in Malaysia, saying the country had plenty of beautiful scenery to offer.

“I hope you can make wonderful stories about Malaysia and capture our natural beauty,” he said.

He concluded his speech with a warm welcome to future guests in Mandarin, quoting Confucius: “You peng zi yuan fang lai, bu yi le hu (how delightful to have friends come from afar).”

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