Two of Cambodia’s top long-distance runners are going to Laos to participate in the 2nd Vientiane International Friendship Half-marathon Sunday.
Chhang Piseth, 25, and Sok Sao, 26, leave Friday accompanied by marathoner To Rithya, who will be going as their coach. Chhang Piseth said that he came third in 1997’s half-marathon but expects to win this year. “Lao runners are no good. At the marathon [at the World Athletic Championships] in Spain, the Lao runner did not finish,” he said.
Two disabled athletes from Cambodia also will be competing Jan 1 in the New Zealand Millennium Marathon in Hamilton City, about 130 km from Auckland. Nok Rotha, a 32-year-old amputee, will be running the half-marathon, and Nov Samnang, 33, will be competing in the wheelchair marathon.
“If Nok Rotha succeeds, he will be the first Cambodian amputee to successfully complete a half-marathon. We’ll see how he does on the day, but we think he can do it,” said Chris Minko, an adviser to the National Paraolympic Committee of Cambodia.
Nok Rotha won two bronze medals in the 100m relay and 800m sprint at the Far East and South Pacific Games for the Disabled earlier this year.
The New Zealand event is expected to attract 2,000 athletes, both disabled and non-disabled, from 35 countries, said Minko. The Jan 1 event is also the first marathon of the new century because the sun comes up first in New Zealand.