The Cambodia Triathlon Federation (CTF) is set to host the 2012 Angkor Wat International Duathlon around the historic temple complex in Siem Reap on October 28.
In a major fillip to the organisation’s rapidly rising stature on the Kingdom’s sporting scene, King Father Norodom Sihanouk has given his blessing for the event to mark his 90th-birthday celebrations.
CTF president Kong Rithy Chup said he was delighted to receive “the highest authorisation from our beloved and respected HM King Father Norodom Sihanouk to grant us to celebrate his 90th birthday on October 28 in Siem Reap.”
The federation chief’s close connection to the King Father, which includes having the title of Oknha bestowed on him by the monarch in 1996, helped pave the way to combining the Duathlon competition with the royal jubilations.
The King Father is not scheduled to attend, but has appointed his half-brother, Samdech Norodom Sirivudh, as his representative in Siem Reap on the day.
The Duathlon, being held in collaboration with the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, features three separate dual-discipline races that appeal to different age groups and levels of athleticism.
In the main event, top competitors will battle it out over a 10-kilometre run, then a 40-kilometre cycle ride and finally a five-kilometre run.
A Half-Duathlon, aimed at encouraging participation by younger and older athletes, will be held over exactly half the length of each leg in the main race.
A short race designed for children will include a 2.5-kilometre run, a 10-kilometre ride and a 1.25-kilometre run.
The federation has released a map detailing the route, which shows 10km and 5km runs that mainly follow the southern section of the moat surrounding the spectacular Angkor Wat temple, as well as a 20km loop for cycling legs that enters and exits the Angkor Thom complex and passes iconic structures such as the Bayon temple, Ta Prohm temple, Victory Gate and the Terrace of the Elephants.
A VIP stage in front of the entrance to Angkor Wat will indicate the start/finish line.
Organisers say local authorities and police will help close off the roads to traffic during the races, which are scheduled to run for about four hours in total from 6:30am.
The October 28 event follows the CTF’s successful hosting of its inaugural international Duathlon in Phnom Penh on July 15, which involved about 650 athletes competing in four categories.
The federation also held two Aquathlons, dual-discipline races that combine running and swimming, on February 26 and May 6 of this year.
“We expect about a thousand athletes to join us [in Siem Reap],” Kong Rithy Chup said, adding that the field would be mainly comprised of athletes from their 11 registered clubs in Phnom Penh and locals and foreigners living in Siem Reap and across the Kingdom.
Invitation letters have been sent to nine official triathlon federations and associations in Asia, including those in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, in the hope of attracting more international athletes.
More details are expected to be announced at a press conference slated for the end of this month, including points of registration in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
The sport’s world governing body, the International Triathlon Union, has also been notified and invited to the Siem Reap competition, as well as to a proposed triathlon on either December 16 or 23 in Sihanoukville.
Kong Rithy Chup will attend the 25th ITU Congress on October 23 in Auckland, New Zealand, where he plans to nominate Siem Reap as host of the congress next year in conjunction with the 2013 Angkor Wat International Duathlon.
The CTF is appealing to the private sector, including corporations, local businesses and enthusiastic individuals, to come forward as sponsors to help fund and promote the event and contribute towards the prizes.
“We are calling to everyone to help us host this great event in celebration of the auspicious occasion of HM King Father Norodom Sihanouk’s 90th birthday,” Kong Rithy Chup told the Post yesterday.
To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Riley at email@example.com