Eight-year-old girl completes 3,500km run

Zhang Huimin and her fatherThe father of an eight-year-old Chinese girl who ran 3,560 km (2,212 miles) to Beijing to celebrate the 2008 Olympics on Tuesday denied accusations of child abuse.

Zhang Huimin arrived in Beijing on Sunday 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 on a motorized bicycle.

Huimin got up at 2.30 a.m. every day to train for the run and would have had to have run about 65 km a day for 55 days -- the equivalent of about one and a half marathons a day.

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

Zhang told Reuters he was not concerned. "I don't care about what the experts say. Although they accuse me of being cruel or abusive, I think I'm right," he said.

"She is always healthy around me and never said her legs hurt or that she was tired after running 30 kilometers," Zhang told Reuters in Tiananmen Square.

Source: Reuters
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