Olympian Hem Bunting wins half marathon, while Cambodia's male riders make up for foreign domination in women's field of Angkor Wat Rally
RECORD numbers of competitors braced the starting line in this year's 13th annual Angkor Wat International Half Marathon and the Angkor Wat Bike Rally held in Siem Reap over the weekend.
A field of 2,593 contested the half marathon on Sunday, with 1,407 Cambodian runners and 1,186 foreigners, compared to last year's race total of 2,150 runners.
Cambodian Hem Bunting won the half marathon this year with a time of one hour, 13 minutes, 53 seconds - well ahead of last year's winning time of 1hr, 18min, 58sec.
Brent Roeger of the US came in second at 1hr, 14min, 47sec, while the 2007 winner, Tony Seakins of Great Britain, finished third.
American Melissa Todd won the women's half marathon in 1hr, 22min, 44sec. Britons Catherine Howell and Emily Woodfield came second and third, respectively.
The number of contestants in this year's Angkor Wat Rally held on Saurday December 6 was also up considerably, with 171 riders compared to last year's 117.
This year's race was hampered by appalling road conditions on some stretches, resulting in two accidents although neither rider was seriously injured.
Cambodia's Lucky Meas Samnang took line honours in the men's 80 kilometre race, while John Nelmes, a Canadian national living in Phnom Penh, came second. Third was Australian Geoffrey Purtill.
Singapore-based riders Denise Silk and Sally Barkman were first and second, respectively, in the women's 80km race.
Cambodia's Peap Ram Khemrak, a former national team rider, came first in the 30km men's race, with 15-year-old Cambodian Keng Ty coming second, furthering his ambition to ride with the national team.
Singapore-based riders Tricia Leahy and Ann Morais came first and second, respectively, in the women's 30km race.
With the exception of a strong showing by male Cambodian cyclists, this year's rally was once again dominated by the large contingent of riders from Singapore.