Sebastian Coe earned his fame by running on the track a few decades ago and now the World Athletics president is happy to see the running fever in China nowadays that indicates not only a big market but also a healthy lifestyle.

Four years ago, Coe took office as the president of the international governing body of athletics after being elected during the 2015 Beijing World Athletics Championships. Since then, many a top-level world athletics events have been staged in China and the World Indoor Athletics Championships is going to be held in Nanjing next March.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe talks to Xinhua in an exclusive interview last week. (Xinhua)

“The reason that World Athletics is so happy to work alongside China in the delivery of our world championships is that you’re very good at it,” said Coe last week in London in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.

“And the quality of your technical officials, quality of your organizing committees, the support that we get from local government and city mayors is very, very high indeed and they are the essential ingredients in delivering major championships,” said the former 1,500m Olympic champion.

Besides the great organizational capacity, Coe believed China is also a large market with huge potential. According to the statistics of the Chinese Athletics Association, it has hosted or co-hosted more than 1900 road running races in 2019, which featured a total of more than eight million participants.

“I like a ‘craze’ like that, because running is a good thing. And we are very proud in World Athletics that more people run than do any other leisure time and fitness activity. And that’s a very good asset for us to have.

“But it’s also a really important way of giving people the opportunity to do something about their lifestyle, and their health and their fitness. And that, of course, will help all the National Health type services that are there to support large populations,” said Coe. (Source:

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