Tibet establishes regional athletics association

LHASA, June 18 (Xinhua) -- Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) established a local athletics association on Thursday, filling a void for one of the most popular sports in the "roof of the world."

The newly-established Tibet Autonomous Region Athletics Association, with a senior long distance running coach Gesang Ciren elected as the president, is the 20th regional sports organization of TAR.

"This is a common wish of all our athletics enthusiasts. More and more people in TAR are now participating in the sport and five of our marathon athletes have been called up by the national team," said Zhang Mingxing, deputy director of the TAR's sports administration.

In 2011, China's State General Administration of Sport published an initiative to cultivate athletes for endurance events in the country's plateau areas, which stimulates the development of middle and long distance running as well as race walk in TAR with an average altitude of more than 4,000 meters.