|Ambassador Zou Xiaoli Fired the Opening Shot for the Half-Marathon in the City of Marathon|
On April 17 2016, Chinese Ambassador Zou Xiaoli fired the opening shot for the 2016 Half-Marathon race in the city of Marathon at the invitation of Mr. Psinakis, mayor of Marathon.
According to historical records, in 490 BC, after the Greek troops defeated invading Persian troops, a soldier and messenger named Pheidippides run back to Athens to report the news of victory. He died immediately after his mission was completed, which became the origin of modern Marathon movement and made Marathon, a city 42 kilometers to the Northeast of Athens, an important place in the heart of thousands of runners around the world.
On the day of the race the sky was cloudless with comfortable spring breeze. Hot balloons with flags of China and Greece on them were flying over the venue. Ambassador Zou and his wife cheered for the participants and took photos with the winners. The whole event was filled with an atmosphere of enthusiasm, friendship and upbeat spirit. Over 3000 runners from all over Greece attended the half-Marathon, the 1-km race for children, 3-km race for adults and relays.
After the event, Ambassador Zou and Mr. Psinakis jointly received interviews from Alpha TV, MEGA TV and local newspaper "Democrats".
Ambassador Zou said that school children in China grew up reading the history of Greece and of Marathon, me being one of them. I feel deeply honoured to witness the Marathon race and to give an opening shot at the birth place of the race. The Marathon movement does not only represent a culture and a spirit, but can also become a bridge of friendship and cooperation between countries and peoples. Ambassador Zou said that as the "world Marathon ambassador" he would honour his pledge to give more publicity to the Marathon culture in China. 2016 is the year for China-Greece cultural exchanges and culture industry cooperation. The opening shot I fired today was not only for the Marathon race, but also for a new development stage for cultural and sports exchanges between China and Greece.