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Viro continues race dominance

Ismail Vorajee / Khmer Times Share:
Ma Viro (left) crossed the finish line in first place. Supplied

The 7th Sihanoukville-Angkor Beer International Half Marathon concluded yesterday with Cambodian running legend Ma Viro, continuing to dominate the Kingdom’s long distance running scene with his third consecutive Sihanoukville triumph.

The 32-year old, a former Olympian and who also won the 2016 and 2017 editions, crossed the finish line in first place in the full 21-kilometrecrossed the finish line in first place in the full 21-kilometer Men’s race men’s race with a time of 1 hour, 20 minutes and 35 seconds. Adelmann Frank and Cemenov Semenov Andreiand rounded off the podium in second and third respectively.

It was the close finish in the women’s race as Jill Hamill claimed first place with a time of 1:32:04 and finishing ahead of Sasaki Natsuko. Sara Bawden finished in third place.

The Sihanoukville iteration is the smaller of the athletics events in the Cambodian sporting calendar. The Phnom Penh and Angkor Wat chapters of the race take precedence – and acquire more runners and amateur athletes in the process.

However, the Royal Government of Cambodia and the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia have sought to make Cambodia’s coastal destinations a more attractive venue for sporting events and stimulate the Kingdom’s burgeoning sports tourism sector.

The protection of the environment and charity fundraising are among key concerns and have been reiterated by Prime Minister Hun Sen at recent events.

“Sihanoukville is green, with lush beaches and clean seas – we call it the Rising Star of the southwest [of Cambodia], said the Prime Minister at last year’s SEA Festival showpiece. “After it was inducted into the exclusive club of the World’s Best Bays. We must participate in the maintenance and do what we can to keep the environment clean, said the Cambodian premier.

He also said preserving the beauty of Cambodia’s coasts is critical to ensuring Sihanoukville’s growth as a sporting and tourist destination but infrastructure would need to improve.

“We also need to build infrastructure across the coast and doing this can help make it even more of a tourist attraction. And we hope that it will continue to be a part of this exclusive international club forever.”

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