A dispute has erupted over who was the rightful winner of the 100k men’s race held as part of the 8th Annual Angkor Wat Bike4Kids day on Saturday.
The bike race was organised by Village Focus International and Terre des Hommes Netherlands, and two Cambodian cyclists – Meas Samnang, aka ‘Mr Lucky’, a six-time national biking champion and former Olympic Cycling Federation member, and Yoeun Phyuth – appeared to finish in a first place tie.
According to Meas, the two cyclists reached the finish-line together and were initially told they were both winners – but shortly after this was overturned.
“I feel very disappointed about the result of this year’s bike race because when I reached the finish line with Phyuth, I was told that I was also the winner,” Meas said. “But 10 minutes later, the judge told me I was in second place as Phyuth had beaten me by one second.
“I felt that they didn’t care about the riders’ feelings when they announced the result twice. They changed the result very quickly in only 10 minutes, and honestly speaking I did not trust that result.”
He also said that he felt uncomfortable with the organisation of the race in terms of riders’ safety. He felt the organisers should have closed off the road for an hour for the race, or else informed tourists and locals not to cross the racing track to prevent accidents.
“There were a lot of people walking on and crossing the racing road,” he said.
Meas has won the Bike4Kids twice before, in 2010 and 2012, coming second in 2011. He confirmed that he would not be participating in next year’s race as he was so disappointed with the unfair result, but he added he would like to thank the organisers for bringing bike racing to Cambodia.
Cycling star Meas was a member of the Cambodian Olympic Cycling Federation for six years. For the last five years he has led cycling tours throughout Cambodia. In December 2008, he won the 80k Angkor International Bike Racing competition.
But in 2009 he was unable to take part in the 25th SEA Games in Laos as the organisers told his team the Cambodian government had not paid the registration fee, as promised.