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Japanese man finishes 2nd in Angkor Wat international half marathon

A competitor in the 10km race for amputees portion of the 10th Annual Angkor Wat International Half Marathon in 2005 passes the Bayon Temple in the Angkor Archaeological Park. (LightRocket/Getty/Kyodo)

PHNOM PENH (Kyodo) -- A Japanese man finished second in the Angkor Wat international half marathon on Sunday, an event that attracted more than 10,000 runners from around the globe.

Daisuke Yamauchi, a non-professional athlete in his late 20s, finished the 21-kilometer race in 1:18:12, according to Vath Chamroeun, Secretary General of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia.

Cuzzucoli Valentin of France won the men's race in a record time of 1:17:18.

Neko Hiroshi of Japan, who finished second last year, did not compete.

The women's half marathon was won by Rose Bec of Australia in a race record time of 1:28:45, with Maire Nic Amhlaoibh of Ireland in second and Small Bronuyn of South Africa third.

The minister of tourism Thong Khon said this year, 10,500 runners from 78 countries participated in the event, which had three categories of races -- three kilometers, 10 kilometers and the half marathon.

More than 5,200 of the competitors came from foreign countries, including Britain, France and the United States, and nearly 500 from Japan.

Last year more than 10,000 runners from 76 countries took part in the event, which began with 654 runners from 14 countries in 1996.

Yuko Arimori, the first Japanese woman to win a marathon medal at the Olympics, helped launch the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon, and has taken part every year in the race to help raise money for landmine victims and the poor.

Arimori, now a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. Population Fund and a representative director of the nongovernmental agency Hearts of Gold, won the silver medal at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and bronze at Atlanta in 1996.

According to government statistics, some 1,901,569 foreign tourists traveled to Siem Reap, where Ankor Wat is located, over the first nine months this year, an increase of 8.5 percent from the same period last year.

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