The National Olympic Committee of Cambodia is geared up to host the 3k Asian Games Fun Run being flagged off from the Sokha Hotel at 6am on Monday, with over 200 national athletes among 1,000 runners expected to take part as the Olympic Council of Asia-organised series heads towards the August 18-September 2 Asiad to be held in Jakarta and Palembang.
Phonm Penh is among the 35 cities spread across 45 participating nations staging the run to publicise and celebrate the second-biggest multidiscipline event after the Olympics for the second time in Indonesia after a gap of 56 years.
Secretary-General of the Indonesian Asian Games Organizing Committee (INASGOC) Eris Herryanto told a news conference on Sunday evening that 2018 would be a historically significant year for the country, which previously conducted the games way back in 1962.
“We are in the final stretch of preparations for a successful games that would leave a lasting legacy. We have 73 venues in two totally different cities in terms of culture and ethnicity nearly 1,000 km apart. I feel it would be an unforgettable experience for the nearly 15,000 athletes taking part, around 5,000 media personnel we are expecting and a great sporting spectacle for the entire continent,” Herryanto said.
The director of Asian Games at the Department of OCA, Haider Farman, said the fun run series launched in 2006 had been designed to unify the participating nations by displaying solidarity with the hosts and creating awareness about the continent’s biggest sports event among its own populations.
Despite political issues that have created divisions and conflict in this hot continent, Farman said the OCA forever remained unified. “Flags of every member nation of OCA, except those that are suspended for various irregularities or discipline, are raised to show that solidarity,” he said.
Secretary-General of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia Vath Chamroeun said the fun run would play an important part in creating awareness nationwide about the Asian Games, which assume added significance in the light of taekwondo sensation Sorn Seavmey bringing home a gold medal after a gap of nearly 70 years from the previous edition in Incheon, South Korea.
“It is very important for us to do well in these games and to get the backing of the people. There is no better way to show solidarity with the nations efforts than to participate in this run. As a gesture of goodwill we have invited the Indonesian Ambassador Pitono Purnomo to join us for this event,” Vath Chamroeun said. “We are planning to send about 35 athletes in 12 disciplines and 25 officials. But we will finalise the squad after discussions with the government.”