The Cambodian Triathlon Federation is making final preparations for its second Phnom Penh International Duathlon, which will be held on a course around Diamond Island this Sunday.
According to CTF president Kong Rithy Chup, the dual-discipline race of running and cycling is expected to attract over 400 athletes to compete with prizes awarded for three age categories for both men and women. Competitors are said to have already signed up from eight athletics clubs associated with the Federation as well as other domestic athletics and cycling clubs.
The U18 and over-40s divisions will feature a 10-kilometre ride sandwiched between two running legs of 2.5km. The 18- to 40-year-old class starts off with a 5km run before a 20km cycle and a final running section over 2.5km.
Organisers are keen to stress their efforts to follow the road safety campaign for bicycle riders in Cambodia.
“All athletes must wear helmets, otherwise we will ban them from competing,” Kong Rithy Chup told the Post.
For the first time, special races are being held for athletes with a disability in cooperation with the National Paralympic Committee of Cambodia. Those that can both run and ride will race over 500 metres by foot and then take to two wheels for a 2km sprint.
A 2.5km relay between pairs of athletes racing both hand-driven and pedal-driven wheelchairs is also slated for Sunday.
The CTF has made the move to prohibit the use of professionally engineered racing bikes in an attempt to encourage a more level playing field among the international and local participants.
“We allow only mountain bikes to compete for the winning prizes, but we open to other athletes with elite or professional racing bikes to participate for friendship,” added the CTF President. “They will not be classified among the winners of the competition.”
Racers are instructed to arrive at the start and finish line near the southern tip of Diamond Island by 6am for pre-race registration, with the official opening of the event presided over by CTF Honourary President and Information Minister Khieu Kanharith slated for 7am.
The main Duathlon races are expected to be over by 11am, while Paralympic races, the awards ceremony and an effort by organisers and athletes to clean up the area of rubbish will take the event on until noon.
In an interesting link-up, the Cambodia Airsport Federation have been granted permission by aviation authorities to conduct flyovers of CTF events to take aerial photos of the races.