Zhang Huimin runs 3500km?

Posted on August 27, 2007 by

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AN eight-year-old Chinese girl has arrived in Beijing after state media said she ran 3560km to celebrate the 2008 Olympics, a feat which brought her father accusations of child abuse.

Zhang Huimin arrived yesterday after she started her extraordinary odyssey on July 3 from Sanya, at the southern tip of the island province of Hainan, with her father following her all the way on a motorised bicycle, the Beijing News said.

Zhang got up at 2.30am every day to train for the run, Xinhua news agency said, and would have had to have run about 65km a day for 55 days – the equivalent of about 1-½ marathons a day.

Domestic media and some experts have accused the father Zhang Jianmin, a businessman, of abuse, saying such a long run would damage the girl’s body and affect her growth.

“I have mixed entertainment with training for my daughter, and, plus, she loves running. I did not impose my will on her,” her father, an amateur runner himself, was quoted as saying.

“It is worth paying the price and making sacrifices for the glory of the country.”

Mr Zhang and his wife separated mainly because she opposed his way of training their daughter, according to the newspaper.

In June, Indian police stopped a five-year-old boy, who became a celebrity after a seven-hour run that sparked charges of abuse, from participating in a 500km walking event.

Posted in: Asia