Saturday November 06, 2004

better Kuala Lumpur Marathon

By S. Selvam

HIGHER prize money and better coordination with neighbouring countries are in the works as City Hall and Federal Territory AAA (FTAAA) aim to raise the profile of the Kuala Lumpur International Marathon for the future.
Having secured the AmBank Group as the title sponsors for next year's edition, and with a slight increase in total prizemoney, Kuala Lumpur Mayor Datuk Mohmad Shaid Mohd Taufek expressed confidence the event will be on par, if not, surpass other marathon races in the region in the near future.
"We want the Kuala Lumpur International Marathon to be as prestigious as the other marathon races in the region like the Hong Kong Marathon and Singapore Marathon," said Mohmad Shaid after launching the AmBank-Kuala Lumpur International Marathon 2005 at a leading hotel in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
"As a start, next year's race will see an increase in total prizemoney, from RM281,800 to RM300,000.
"We have also contacted our neighbours to ensure the races don't clash with one another.
"But next year, and hopefully with AmBank's continued support, we will offer more prize money to entice the top marathoners to compete in Kuala Lumpur." Also present at the launch were AmBank Group chairman Tan Sri Azman Hashim, FTAAA president Tan Sri Mohd Amin Osman, Concorde Hotel chairman Tan Sri Salehuddin Mohamed and representatives of the various co-sponsors.
Azman presented the bank's contribution of RM400,000 and said he hoped the money will enable the organisers to market the race to attract the biggest participation of foreign and local athletes.
To be held on March 6, 2005, the top prize for the men's marathon is RM38,000 while the women's winner will pocket RM15,000.
Some 10,000 athletes are expeted to compete in 15 categories, ranging from the full marathon to the 10km races.
Mohmad Shaid, however, disagreed that holding the KL Marathon a week after the Hong Kong Marathon will affect the entries of top athletes as there was enough rest time between the two races.
The Hong Kong Marathon will be held on Feb 27.
"You are saying that the athletes need at least a month's rest but I believe the time (one week) is enough," said Mohmad Shaid when questioned on the need to space out the time between the two races.
"We want the KL International Marathon to be a part of a series which will be held in the region.
"Once this is achieved, the athletes will travel from one country to another to run in each marathon." That, however, is something that only time will tell.
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