Saturday, November 3, 2007

Runners eye top spot

SEVERAL regular road runners will spearhead Panasonic’s challenge at the Malaysia EKIDEN Road Relay at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya tomorrow.

Team manager T. Kanniappan, who is also the Panasonic Sports Complex manager, said they had picked 15 employees and formed three teams to take part in the relay.

“The relay is a historic event as it is held in conjunction with Malaysia’s 25th anniversary of the Look East Policy. We were invited by the Japanese Embassy in Malaysia and the Japan Club of Kuala Lumpur to participate in the Relay. Our counterparts from Japan had also encouraged us to be part of the event.

“We managed to gather our employees and we will be out to do well in the Relay. Since most the representatives are seasoned runners, we are confident of a good outing,” Kanniappan said after a training session at the Panasonic Sports Complex in Shah Alam recently.

The seasoned runners in Panasonic team are B. Moorthy, Takatoshi Iwata, Saharudin Mohamed, Mat Nor Din, Afni Abdul Razak, Eric Low Siong San and Zolhisham Yahya.

The relay, organised by the International Youth Centre Foundation, Honorary Consulate General of Malaysia in Fukuoka, Japan, and the Alumni of Look East Policy Society, is also to establish better diplomatic relations between Japan and Malaysia.

The relay has five categories – mixed team (18 years and above); men Open (18 years and above); women Open (18 years and above); men junior (13-17 years) and women junior (13-17 years).

Each team will comprise five runners. Each runner has to complete 3km, with the total distance being 15km. Prizes will be offered to the top five teams in each category.

The relay was last held in Kuala Lumpur in 1994. Then Panasonic had fielded three teams and they finished 4th, 10th and 12th respectively.

Kanniappan said Takatoshi had taken part in the relay in 1994.

“He is the most experienced runner in our team. He has been training with the other runners for the past two weeks.

“We are expecting one of the three teams to finish among the top five in the men’s Open category,” added Kanniappan

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