FORMER international Norliana Mohd Rusni had reasons to celebrate as she was on the podium as champion in three categories in the MKH-Kajang International 12-Hour Walk.
In the event held in Kajang, the 26-year-old stamped her mark by winning the top spot in the women’s category in the 12-hour walk, 50km and mixed team events.
In the women’s Open, Norliana completed 79 laps to finish ahead of Chan I-Yin (75 laps) and Tan Boon Gaik (74 laps).
As the champion, Norliana received RM2,000 while I-Yin and Boon Gaik took home RM1,500 and RM1,000, respectively.
Norliana, representing the Malaysian Armed Forces, was also the winner in the women’s 50km event with a time of 5’51:51 and won RM1,000 for her effort.
The second spot went to former champion Chooi Fern Loh (6’04:58) and won RM700 while Choi Kam Her was third in 7’10:32 and received RM500.
Norliana was also a member of Friendship Racewalkers, who took the top spot in the mixed-team event. The other members of the team were Peter James Back, Eng Hup Boh and G. Suresh Kumar.
The foursome accumulated a total of 321 laps, and were rewarded with RM1,000.
There was an intense contest between Malaysia’s Mohd Nor Azuan Mohd Nor and Netherland’s Franciscus Leijftens for the top spot in the men’s Open category.
Both completed 90 laps but Mohd Nor was awarded the first prize as he completed the distance in 11’ 54:49 while Leijtens finished in 12’00:00. The third place went to Peter James Back in 88 laps.
Mohd Nor received RM2,000; Leijtens RM1,500 and Back RM1,000.
Mohd Nor was also the winner in men’s 50km event. He took 6’06:43 to complete the distance ahead of Back (6’21:32) and Leijtens (6’21:36).
Norliana, who had represented Malaysia in the 2013 SEA Games, was elated with her impressive results.
“I have to be happy as it was a tough and gruelling race. It was also raining during the early part of the event. But I managed to maintain my composure and win the top spot in the 12-Hour walk and 50km walk.
“I would also like to thank my teammates for helping me win in the mixed team event,’’ said Norliana.
Mohd Nor, who is also from the Malaysian Armed Forces, was happy to win the top spot in both the 12-hour walk and 50km events.
“It was a close affair as the second and third-placed walkers gave me some anxious moments. I managed to stay in front, from the start to finish ahead of them. It was an interesting event,’’ said the 27-year old.
Leijtens, taking part in the 12-hour walk for the second time, said he enjoyed himself.
“The weather did not disrupt my focus. In fact, it was an enjoyable outing and it was good to win prizes as well. I will have some fond memories of their event. The organisers’ hospitality was exemplary,’’ said Leijtens.
The walk was organised by the Race Walkers Association of Malaysia (RWAM) with support from the Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj), Kajang district police and Kajang Hospital.
The sponsors were MKH Berhad, Sports Toto, 100 Plus, Ixora Pewter, Southern Lion, Salonpas, Dina SKK, Lee Swee Construction and Trading, City Piling and Construction and Sri Binaraya.
RWAM patron Tan Sri Peter Chin and RWAM president Tan Sri Eddy Chen flagged off the event.
Peter said they were grateful to the sponsors for coming forward to support the event.
“We did not get any grants but the organising committee managed to secure sponsors. Without support from the sponsors, we could not have organised the event on a grand scale.
“We have to appreciate the participants for making the event a success. They were enthusiastic about being part of the event,’’ said Peter.
About 500 participants started the event in a jovial mood. Even the rain did not deter them from interacting with the other participants. Many of them were casual walkers and took part in the event to test their endurance.
Several participants came equipped with camping facilities and rain coats.
There was joy for participants who won prizes worth a total of RM15,000 in a lucky draw conducted after the prize giving ceremony.
The participants commended the RWAM for organising the event.
Organising chairman Khoo Chong Beng said they were pleased with the response.
“We were quite worried as it was the rainy season. We were worried as the numbers were not encouraging during the haze in October. But the positive feedback from the participants has given us reason to be happy.
“We have several plans for next year. The RWAM will look into ways to attract a bigger number of participants next season,’’ Chong Beng added.
Open: 1. Mohd Nor Azuan Mohd Nor (90 laps); 2. Franciscus Leijtens (90 laps); 3. Peter James Back (88 laps).
50km: 1. Mohd Nor Azuan Mohd Nor (6’06:43); 2. Peter James Back (6’21:32); 3 Franciscus Leijtens (6’21:36).
Open: 1. Norliana Mohd Rusni (79 laps); 2. Chang I-Yin (75 laps); 3. Tan Boon Gaik (74 laps)
50km: 1. Norliana Mohd Rusni (5’51:51); 2. Chooi Fern Loh (6’04:58); Choi Kam Har 7’10:32)
Mixed Team: 1 Friendship Racewalkers (321 laps); Klang Kaki (258 laps); 3. Kelam Kabut 253 laps)