Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hiroshi leads local marathon clean sweep



Hiroshi leads local marathon clean sweep

Neko Hiroshi competes in the 7th Phnom Penh Half Marathon yesterday.
Neko Hiroshi competes in the 7th Phnom Penh Half Marathon yesterday.

Hiroshi leads local marathon clean sweep

Rio Olympian Neko Hiroshi piloted a Cambodian clean sweep by repeating his success of last year in the men’s section of the 7th Phnom Penh International Half Marathon yesterday. French tutor Veronique Messina recorded her third win among the women in four years.

The popular charity run, which supports the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals and other benevolent causes, commemorated the birthday of Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk.

A surge of entries over the last few days boosted the participation numbers well past the 5,000 mark, including a record 523 overseas entries from 33 countries.

The numbers were considerably bolstered by an increase in local runners patronising the 10km and 3km fun runs.

“The entries far exceeded our expectations. We were delighted to see so many institutions and groups taking part in big numbers. We hope this trend continues,’’ secretary-general of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia Vath Chamroeun, who is also the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Tourism, told The Post yesterday.

“We will now invite suggestions and opinions of foreign and local runners regarding our plan to upgrade the event to a full marathon next year.

“The great significance of the fields growing bigger in the 10km and 3km races is that more and more locals are getting involved which is a healthy sign of good long distance runners coming to the fore,” Chamroeun noted.

Born Kuniaki Takizaki in Japan, the 40-year-old comedian is better known in athletics circles as Neko Hiroshi since he acquired Cambodian citizenship in 2011.

He earned a universality placement for the men’s marathon in the 2016 Rio Olympics, where he had the satisfaction of finishing the course.

At 1.45 metres (4ft 8in) tall and weighing around 100lbs (45kg), Hiroshi belies his build with his stamina, which he displayed in great measure and took him to a comfortable victory in 1 hour 16 min and 44 seconds, nearly two seconds slower than last year.

However, he extended his wining margin to nearly five minutes over Cambodian Ma Viro, who once again had to rest content with the runner-up tag. Kang Thoeun checked in third to complete a Cambodian trifecta.

The women’s event saw the 2015 winner, 38-year-old Messina, outlast her rivals and go one better on her second last year behind Britain’s Jill Hamill. Improving on last year’s mark by a few seconds, Messina completed her third win in four years.

For the first time a runner from Ukraine earned a podium finish when Nadtia Herashchenko came through to take second place in 1:44.23, ahead of Natsuko Sasaki of Japan in 1:46.36.

The men’s 10km also saw a dominant display by Cambodian runners. Van Peara took the top honours by clocking 38min, 34sec for the route, ahead of Sath Oudom (39.44) and Chea Sampos (39.53)

American Shaina Corbin won the women’s 10km in 47min,12sec to peg back the Cambodian pair of Phai Laurie (48.21) and 14-year-old Bo Samnang (48.23).

MOST VIEWED

  • Municipal hall releases map detailing colour coded Covid risks by commune

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng released an official map detailing the red, yellow and dark yellow zones within the city under the new lockdown orders for Phnom Penh announced on April 26. The designation of red, dark yellow and yellow corresponds to areas with high,

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Phnom Penh, Takmao lockdown extended for another week

    The government late on April 26 announced an extension of lockdown in Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province for another seven days – or longer if residents do not comply with Covid-19 preventive measures and the community outbreak does not subside – until May 5. According

  • Gov't mulls extension of Phnom Penh, Takmao lockdown

    The Inter-ministerial National Commission for the Control and Enforcement of Lockdown held a video conference meeting on April 25 to review a draft document on the extension of lockdown in Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal province’s Takmao town. The meeting was chaired by Minister of

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a