APS : Tuesday, 23 February 2016
Al-AYUN (Sahrawi Camps)- The 16th edition of Sahara Marathon started Tuesday from the Saharawi refugee camp of al-Ayun, with the participation of more than 500 runners from about twenty countries.
The race, stretching over 5, 10, 21 and 42 kilometre sections according to age classes, kicked off by Saharawi Minister of Youth and Sports Ahmed Lahbib Abdi, in the presence of the wali (governor) of the al-Ayun camp, Yeslem Bissat.
The Sahara Marathon starts from al-Ayun refugee camps and the finish line is in Smara camps.
A total of 120 Algerian runners are taking part in this sporting and solidarity event, besides participants is Spain, Italy, France, China, Sweden, United States, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Latvia, Portugal, Tunisia, Switzerland, Austria, Croatia, the Netherlands and Cuba.
The participants, for the first time, include runners from occupied Saharawi territories and others from the community abroad.
The Saharawi minister of Youth and Sports said the large number of participants, coming from various parts of the world, is in itself a big support to the Saharawi people who live a difficult situation for forty years because of Morocco’s intransigence, in defiance of the international law and UN resolutions while Western Sahara people are only asking for their right to self-determination.
This year’s marathon is distinguished by the fact that it is part of the international campaign for the holding of a referendum on self-determination in Western Sahara.
It is also distinguished by the participation of a large number of groups from European countries.