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Father of 8-year-old Chinese distance runner denies abuse allegations

Father of 8-year-old Chinese distance runner denies abuse allegations

The father of an 8-year-old girl who completed a 55-day run across eastern China denied forcing her into the ordeal, saying she considered pounding the pavement for hours each day a form of play.
"You can force your child one day," Zhang Jianmin was quoted as saying in the China Daily newspaper, referring to his daughter, Huimin.
"But you can't force one to wake up early in the morning everyday if one doesn't want to," Zhang said.
Zhang Huimin reached Beijing on Sunday after running the 3,560 kilometers (2,212 miles) from her home on the southern island province of Hainan. Her father, a distance runner in his youth, followed her on an electric bicycle.
The girl, who weighs 20 kilograms (44 pounds) and stands 1.25 meters (4 feet) tall, ran an average of 65 kilometers (40 miles), or roughly one and a half marathons, each day.
Huimin's experience recalls the case of Budhia Singh, a 4-year-old Indian boy who was banned from running long distances after medical tests showed his health had suffered after he ran much of a 65-kilometer (40-mile) marathon.
Doctors concluded the boy was undernourished, anemic and under could suffer heart problems. China Daily said experts believed Zhang's health could also be affected.
"The running will certainly harm her," it quoted Liu Hong, director of the China School Sports Federation, as saying.
"It is an extremely hard running process even for an adult," Liu was quoted as saying.
However, Zhang Jianmin said he was just carrying out his daughter's wishes, saying; "I never impose my will on her." For the girl, running is "more about jumping and playing, rather than a chore," the paper quoted Zhang as saying.


Updated : 2021-03-03 07:27 GMT+08:00