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Charitable double up in Angkor Wat

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Cyclists race through a gate of the Angkor Thom complex in Siem Reap during last year’s Angkor Wat Bike Race & Ride.  Photograph supplied

Siem Reap’s world renowned Angkor Wat Temple complex will be a witness to a double-header for charitable causes during the first weekend of December.

The seventh annual Angkor Wat Bike Race & Ride serves as a perfect dress rehearsal on Saturday December 1 for the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon the following day. Interest worldwide for the cycling event has growing steadily over the years and the organisers of the event, Village Focus International which implements human rights programmes in Cambodia and Laos, are expecting a turnout of around 1,000 riders this year.

It is an outing for participants of all ages and fitness levels encouraging them to pedal through the UNESCO World Heritage site in an effort to raise funds for VFI’s work supporting vulnerable children and victims of sex trafficking.

The event is both a race and a ride, with three overlapping but distinct routes – a 100km route for serious racers and others who just want to challenge themselves over a long route, a 30km route for both racers and more casual riders out to see the Angkor complex in a unique way and a 17km event designed to attract families and which takes riders through the heart of the Angkor complex.

Terre Des Hommes – Netherlands, an organisation well known for its work to protect children from exploitation throughout Asia, will step in as the event’s new sponsors.

Together, the VFI and TDH-N are hoping that the 2012 edition will be greater than ever before and aim to raise over US$50,000 in proceeds to better previous fund raising figures.

First held in 2006, the bike challenge which provides a special glimpse of the breath-taking Angkor era site, has raised a total of $150,000 over the years towards empowering young people and communities to break out of the cycle of poverty and exploitation.

“The event offers bikers from around the world to join in solidarity to ride across the magnificent ancient temple complex. We encourage friends and families to cycle together and unite for a special cause,” said VFI Director Rick Reece.

Those wanting to take part in the event can sign up at www.villagefocus.org/bike as well as following its progress on Twitter or via Facebook.

To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at hirimanju@yahoo.com

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