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Ma Viro gets first taste of glory, Tang triumphs again

Runners pass through a gate at the Angkor Thom complex
Runners pass through a gate at the Angkor Thom complex yesterday during the 19th Angkor Wat International Half Marathon. NOCC

Ma Viro gets first taste of glory, Tang triumphs again

Cambodia’s Ma Viro claimed his first victory in the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon yesterday morning in Siem Reap.

The 27-year-old national team runner completed the 21-kilometre course around the picturesque Angkorean temple complex in a total time of one hour, 16 minutes and 10 seconds.

Just over five minutes back was compatriot Phan Sophak, with Britain’s Thomas Booth in third on 1:22:15.

In the women’s half marathon, Singapore’s Vivian Tang added to her multiple titles in the past with a solid run of 1:28:05, around half a minute slower than the time she set in winning last year’s race.

Canada’s Tracy Whiting-Tary clinched silver yesterday with 1:33:21 ahead of American Laura Kighlinger, who crossed the line in 1:34:10.

According to Kyodo news, Tourism Minister and National Olympic Committee of Cambodia President Thong Khon said nearly 8,000 runners from 78 countries entered events over 3km, 10km or 21km. In 1996, only 654 runners from 14 countries entered.

There was also a special wheelchair race.

The Angkor Wat International Half Marathon was first introduced by Yuko Arimori, the first Japanese woman to win a marathon medal at the Olympics.

Arimori, now a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund, has taken part in every international half marathon in Siem Reap to contribute to fund-raising for landmine victims and the poor.

“It is truly a pleasure to be able to meet again in the marking of 19 years. I would love to share the pleasure to be here with all of you,” she was quoted as saying yesterday by Kyodo news.

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