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Hands-on contest a hit in Cambodia

More than 80 contestants took part in the first Subaru Palm Challenge held in Cambodia. Photo by: Ou Mom

LONG a popular fixture of US TV and radio competitions, “Hands on a Hardbody,” a marathon endurance contest where participants vie to hold their palms against a car the longest in order to win it, has expanded to Cambodia.

More than 80 participants took part in first Cambod-ian version of the contest, dubbed the Subaru Palm Challenge by its organisers, Motor Image Cambodia, at Sorya Shopping Centre earlier this month.

Ten finalists will travel to Singapore in October to compete in regional finals that could see them walk away with a Subaru Forester.

Motor Image Cambodia operations manager Ngeth Sato told the Post the 80 contestants who took part in the first round of the Palm Challenge had been selected by drawing numbered balls out of a jar.

“The first time, we let candidates compete against one another in the lucky draw in order to narrow them down to 80 participants, both male and female, who were eligible to stand and put their right palm on the car.

“In the end, there were 10 candidates who could keep their palm on the car longer than the others.

“Each one received an LCD TV set as their reward, and the company will send them to join in the final competition in Singapore in October this year as the Cambodian representatives.”

Ngeth Sato said all participants were required to be over 21 and have regular blood- pressure levels.

The Palm Challenge, which lasted from 9:30am to 8:30pm, attracted a mass of enthralled onlookers who shouted their encouragement to their fav-oured candidates.

But after seven  hours had passed, 30 of the original 80 candidates remained, and none of them appeared likely to give up.

In response, the organisers instituted a series of physical challenges in which contest-ants had to hold ping-pong balls in their mouths and stand with their free arm outstretched holding a bottle of water up until the field was narrowed down to 10.

Loun Phally, 23, one of the 10 winners, expressed his emot-ions to the Post after the contest.

“I think this is a good competition because the Palm Chall-enge has never been done here before,’’ he said. “I’m proud to be a Cambodian representat-ive in the finals, whether the result is a win or a loss.

“For lunch, I ate only two pieces of meat, and then the time was up for taking our short break.

“I was exhausted, but when I saw many candidates dropp-ing off, I felt better.”

Another winner, teacher Son Sopheak, said he had first heard about the competition when it was announced over the broadcast system while he was attending football training at the Olympic Stadium.

“I was fascinated with the announcement, so I surfed the website in order to get more information about it, but I never rehearsed before participating,” he said.

Holding up his deadly-pale right palm, Sopheak added: “If this Palm Challenge had taken 12 hours, I couldn’t have kept going. That competition was really  hard.

“If I wasn’t so fortunate, I couldn’t have found a comfortable place to put my right palm. But luckily, where I put my right palm was always vertical, so it didn’t affect my blood pressure.

“As a Cambodian representative in the finals, I am determined to exercise and maintain my health before I go to participate in the Palm Chall-enge in Singapore.

“We have to be united in order to win the championship over other Asian countries.”

Sopheak’s fellow finalist, architect Praptith Sopheak, explained that he also barely made it to the conclusion of the competition.

“Towards the end, I almost lost my patience because my whole body was hurting. My wrist is still sore from being in one place for so long,” he said.

“I wasn’t sure I would win this competition, but I was determined and committed. The last stage was the hardest.

“This challenge demanded strong commitment, and I’m  thrilled I was a winner.”

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