Donations to the tune of $116,400 were awarded to charitable causes including several NGOs and children’s hospitals at a simple ceremony at the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia Headquarters on Tuesday by the Marathon Committee through its fundraising efforts at the 2017 Angkor Wat International Half Marathon.
Last December’s 22nd running of the half marathon and other added attractions like the 10km run and 3km fun run shattered all previous records and touched an all-time high of 11,000 runners.
Such growth reflects the growing popularity of this charity-driven sports tourism event in the yearly national calendar, which sets out similar 21k runs in Sihanoukville in March and Phnom Penh in June, in addition to a full marathon in Siem Reap in August.
Presiding over the ceremony, the secretary-general of the NOCC, Vath Chamroeun, said steadfast support from partners like Manulife, Khmer Beverages and Meta Water, among other companies and organisations, had contributed immensely to the fundraising activities to enable the charitable donations.
He said the growing popularity of these events, especially among overseas participants, was due largely to these noble intentions, which also play a part in advancing Cambodia’s efforts to promote sports tourism.
The top NOCC administrator also commended the cooperation from the Royal Angkor International Hospital, Sokha Siem Reap Resort and Convention Center, and Sunrise Japan Hospital, Phnom Penh.
In his address, Sam Phalla, the CEO of Cambodia Events Organizer, which coordinates the organisational aspects of these charity runs in association with the Ministry of Tourism, the NOCC, the Khmer Athletics Federation and other government agencies, singled out Manulife for its outstanding effort in raising as much as $96,000, out of which $82,000 had been handed out to the Angkor Children’s Hospital in Siem Reap.
“Our main objective for holding these annual events is to prop up sports tourism for charity. We will try our best to raise as much funds as we can to help the disabled and underprivileged people as well as lending support for children in hospitals,” Phalla told The Post on Tuesday.
Among the other beneficiaries are the Cambodian Red Cross ($10,000), Kantha Bopha Hospital ($6,000), Cambodia Trust ($3,600), Cambodia Disabled Athletics Federation ($3,400) and Handicap International Belgium ($3,400).
Programmes under the Heart of Gold Project also received donations. They are Support Disabled Athletics ($2,400), New Childcare Center ($2,000), Physical Education Project ($2,000) and Youth Development Project ($2,000).