China lifted a ban on Japanese runners entering the Beijing International Marathon on November 25 after coming under heavy criticism.

An official of the marathon’s organizing committee claimed they previously barred Japanese runners over safety concerns amid strained relations between the two countries, leaving out the option for “Japanese” under the nationalities in the registration, which immediately sparked anger on the internet.

While some Chinese officials had welcomed the decision, critical remarks flooded websites and blogs, the general feeling being that the ban was “against sportsmanship” and that it reflected “the small mind of the Chinese government”, according to the Asahi Shimbun.

The tab allowing Japanese entrants to select their nationality eventually appeared Saturday on the event’s official website.

Tensions have mounted over disputed islands in the East China Sea as both countries assert conflicting claims and jostle in the surrounding waters.