Monday, May 4, 2009

Cycling Tournament Starts in Phnom Penh


About 200 male and female cyclists of all ages from cities and provinces throughout the country have attended a Competition on May 3 in Phnom Penh. The bicycle race was organized by the Cambodia Cycling Federation, in collaboration with the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, with additional support provided by the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport and the Phnom Penh Municipality. The competition took place in the green and leafy surroundings of the Spean Neak Park (the Dragon Bride Park) near Wat Phnom, in Phnom Penh.

Van Than, General Secretary of the Cambodia Cycling Federation, said the main purpose of the event is to promote “Sport for All” Cambodian nationals as a means of improving general levels of health and fitness. The race is also an appropriate leisure event for a progressive and developing nation and the organizers also hope to attract interest from tourists.

Than said, another objective of the competition will be to identify the nation’s top ten best riders. These cycling elite will then move on to participate in the upcoming SEA games and a host of other international cycling competitions.

“I think that the cycling competition will be an important sporting event for the nation. Successful cyclists always enter a race with a well thought out strategy and never anything less than the will to win. It will also enhance general levels of health for the participants and encourage others to experience the benefits of this wholesome and energetic sport. The event will be quite a spectacle in itself and we expect quite a number of tourists to cheer our riders on,” he said during a telephone interview with The Cambodia Weekly on April 28.

Than said, the tournament will be divided into two categories. The first category will be for male competitors with a course covering 30 kilometers. The second category will be for female cyclists who will race over a 15-kilometer course.

The competition is scheduled to start at 8:00 am and will run through to 11:30 am. The course will take cyclists from Spean Neak Park to the Independence Monument along Norodom Boulevard. From there, the competitors will double back and complete the circuit with a return to Spean Neak. Female competitors will cover three rounds of this circuit whilst male riders will complete six rounds.

“I hope that with this sporting event we will be able to promote cycling as an ideal form of low impact sport. Cyclists receive all the benefits of exercising extensive muscle masses, but without causing damage to their joints and bones through repetitive impact. We are also looking forward to seeing a ten-strong squad of our best riders performing in international competition in the future.”

Than said for the final round of the competition, the rider who takes first place will receive a letter of commendation and a US$100 prize. The second place rider will also receive a note of congratulations and a purse of $70. There will be a letter and a S$50 prize for the third placed competitor.

He said that the Cambodia Cycling Federation would issue the Letters of Commendation, with the prize money generously provided by the Phnom Penh Municipality.

Van Than said his federation will continue to organize cycling competitions around the nation. This will help maintain a high profile for the sport.

He concluded by saying that the Cambodia Cycling Federation is panning similar events to promote the sport. There will be races to suit everyone from the amateur rider (under the “Sport for All” banner) through to high performance competitors. /////

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