Half marathon rated city's 'most influential' sports event during pandemic

Ma Yue
Study of major sporting tournaments in Shanghai in 2021 lists top 10 based on professionalism, public appeal, media coverage and society contribution.
Ma Yue

The Shanghai Half Marathon tops the list of the city's most influential sports events organized in 2021, according to a report issued by Shanghai Sports Bureau and Shanghai University of Sport.

The report assessed 46 national and international sporting tournaments held in Shanghai last year. Professionalism, organizational work, public appeal, media coverage, and contribution to society were major criteria for assessment.

The top three ranked competitions according to the study were: Shanghai Half Marathon, Cross-Country Skiing China Tour Shanghai, and Head of Shanghai River Regatta.

Half marathon rated city's 'most influential' sports event during pandemic
Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

The inaugural Head of Shanghai River Regatta was held on October 24, 2021.

"We have to admit that the list doesn't really represent Shanghai's true ability to host sports events," said Huang Haiyan, a professor from Shanghai Sports Bureau.

"After all, a lot of international sports competitions could not be held due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though the local sports authority and organizers have been trying to continue their work amid these special circumstances, the number of events allowed to be held is still limited," Huang said.

Shanghai Sports Bureau introduced a rating system to assess and classify the city's national and international sports events last year. The new system set three levels – Premium, Hallmark and Developing Events.

Eighteen events were approved under the system. Among them, the ATP 1000 Rolex Shanghai Masters, Shanghai Marathon, Formula One Chinese Grand Prix and golf's HSBC Champions have been rated as top-level Premium Events.

However, the outbreak of the pandemic has curtailed organization of these events since 2020.

Half marathon rated city's 'most influential' sports event during pandemic

Cross-Country Skiing China Tour Shanghai was held on December 18, 2021.

"It's a real pity that we missed a lot of international sports competitions last year," said Luo Wenhua, vice director of Shanghai Sports Bureau.

"We finally have the first Chinese F1 driver, but the Chinese GP had to miss the calendar. The equestrian Global Champions League and the tennis Shanghai Masters are also popular events that we were forced to miss under the influence of the pandemic."

He added, "The top 10 list serves as recognition of the sports events that managed to continue amid the special circumstances. Sports have been playing an important role in citizen's lives. We hope sports competition can be fully resumed as soon as possible."

According to the assessment report, Shanghai Half Marathon topped the list thanks to its scale and professional organization.

Six thousand runners took part in the 21-kilometer race on April 18 last year. The annual event was canceled in 2020. The number of participants in 2021 was down from 15,000 in 2019, and elite athletes from overseas were absent.

Half marathon rated city's 'most influential' sports event during pandemic
Dong Jun / SHINE

The Shanghai Women's Half Marathon was held on May 1, 2021.

The second-ranked Cross-Country Skiing China Tour Shanghai and the fourth-ranked China Diving Championship both served as the national teams' selection competitions for the Tokyo Olympic Games, increasing their public appeal.

The third-ranked Head of Shanghai River Regatta, held on Suzhou Creek, was a self-developed Shanghai sports event that won popularity in its inaugural year.

Top 10 most influential sports events in Shanghai in 2021

1. Shanghai Half Marathon

2. Cross-Country Skiing China Tour Shanghai

3. Head of Shanghai River Regatta

4. China Diving Championship

5. Shanghai 10K Elite Run

6. Shanghai Women's Half Marathon

7. Shanghai Cup Chess Masters

8. China Touring Car Championship

9. Tour de France Shanghai Lingang Criterium Ride

10. Road to Revival Relay/MAGIC3 Shanghai 3x3 Basketball Youth Tournament

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