Almost 1,500 runners participated in a women's run on March 8 for International Women's Day. The event began in front of Wat Botum Park.
Vath Chamroeun, secretary-general of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC), said the women's run had been disrupted for two years by the Covid-19 pandemic, but when the event resumed many runners were interested and the NOCC will continue to hold the event every year to promote International Women’s Day and encourage women to play sports.
“Today we saw nearly 1,500 runners. This is due to a movement to lead a more active lifestyle, which gives the runners a better understanding of their health. The event became part of the movement pushing the message that every person should exercise daily.
“The Cambodia SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) launched the campaign intending for it to become a national movement to make us healthy, reduce public health services costs and encourage our society to live a healthy life together,” he said.
The runners were divided into two groups: the 10km run and a 4km run. The event did not focus so much on winning, but more on health and International Women’s Day. The runners were all registered and presented with medals as souvenirs.
“March 8 marks women’s rights and equal rights with men and today is the 112th anniversary. This run is not only for women but also for men,” said Koy Pisey, head of the women and sport commission.
“We know that our society needs women and women also need men. These two sexes are necessary to collaborate and express solidarity to bring our society peace and live in harmony,” she said.
She continued that not only Cambodian women were interested in the run, but also foreign women and some men had attended the event. US ambassador to Cambodia W Patrick Murphy, along with his family members and embassy officials, had also turned up for the event.
“The ambassador was pleased and asked me if I would organise this run next year. I told him that I will do so in the hopes that year after year, more and more women and men can attend it,” she stated.
"It was inspiring to be surrounded by so many strong Cambodian women, and what a pleasure it was to race through the Kingdom's beautiful capital," said Chane Cloete, originally from South Africa but now a resident of Tuol Tom Pong, who placed second.
“Being part of the running community here is amazing. People are always there to provide support, motivation and encouragement from the start to the finish,” she said.
Pisey said women are important to national society because they are the backbone of the national economy and education and raise children within families.
“When it comes to the competition for prizes and medals on the international stage, our women have won more than men have. Although the number of women players is lower than that of men, they got more medals than men, especially gold medals.
“Our women are strong and perseverant. Not just in sports for the able-bodied, but for disabled athletes the women also got more medals. Women are at the forefront.
“So, as a head of the women and sports commission, I am very proud of the present-day Cambodian women in the sporting field. When women are healthy physically and intellectually, they generate more income and make more progress accordingly.”