The great success of the recently-concluded 32nd SEA Games and 12th ASEAN Para Games have given the people of Cambodia a clearer understanding of how sports can keep them healthy so they can contribute to national development, explained Vath Chamroeun, secretary-general of the national organising committees for SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games (CAMSOC-CAMAPGOC).

He noted that 3,900 Cambodians entered the 11th Phnom Penh International Half Marathon, held on June 11, to celebrate the birthday of the Queen Mother ahead of June 18. The figure shows an increase on the 3,621 runners who entered last year’s event.

“We had a very successful 11th Phnom Penh International Half Marathon. No problems of any kind arose, and the entrants ran the course in good health, with smiles on their faces. The solidarity and friendship they displayed strengthened the trust of one another in playing sports to reduce public health costs,” he said.

“Sports also increase participants’ physical and mental strength and improve their life skills,” he added.

Chamroeun said that of the 3,900 runners, over 50 per cent of them opted to run the 21km or 10km distance.

“This is a special point for us. After the success of the ASEAN Para Games, the public has gained a clearer understanding of the importance of caring for their health. This will make them strong, so they can contribute to national development.

“Naturally, this development is thanks to the hard-won peace that was obtained through the wise leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen. We must all work together to preserve this peace,” he added.

Sem Phalla, general manager of the Phnom Penh International Half Marathon, said that the run featured four events.

Of the entrants, about 400 registered for the full 21km, 1,700 opted for the 10km, while about 1,300 and 200 people signed up for the 5km and 2.5km respectively.

Chamroeun said that this year’s event went smoothly, thanks to the participation of members of the armed forces and officials from the Phnom Penh municipal hall, who safeguarded all of the competitors on the roads.

“We believe the event raised the profile of Phnom Penh on the international stage,” he said.

“Many big cities around the world hold similar events to boost their profiles – like the Paris Marathon, New York Marathon and Tokyo Marathon, so why not a Phnom Penh event? What is really important is to celebrate the birthday of the Queen Mother, and reflect on her care for her subjects,” he added.