Díli, 18 February – The President of the Republic, Dr José Ramos-Horta today invited Timorese athletes to participate in the 2012 National Selections Race. The 21 km. selection race will be held later this month on the 25 th of February but in the meantime Timor-Leste’s top male and female runners, Agusto Ramos Soares and Juventina Napoleaon, are on their way to the Tokyo Marathon with the hope of qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics.
The 2012 National Selections Race gives the opportunity to the top twelve Timorese runners (six women and six men) to receive special support from the National Athletics Federation and the Office of the President to assist them in preparation for the third Dili Marathon.
All eyes are on runners Agusto and Juventina though, in their crucial race in Japan: which decides whether they make the cut for the London Olympics. The runners will be the first Timorese to ever race in the Tokyo marathon, which is one of the biggest in Asia. Thanks to Dentsu Sports Asia they will also meet former Olympian Ms. Yuko Arimori of Japan (who will receive an official invitation from the President of the Republic to attend the 2012 Dili marathon) and they will also get the chance to stay on in Japan for a few days following the race, being hosted by Japanese familys.
The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate proudly announced the ‘Run for Peace’, an initiative to “build bridges through sports, to build peace in the country, to build fraternity between this country, our people, and peoples around the world. Our athletes show the world that Timor-Leste has regained peace, tranquility, safety. They are also examples to their peers and their nation of what dedication, tenacity and self belief can bring as rewards. The Dili Marathon will involve over 10,000 youth and adults in a celebration of peace, international friendship and athletic excellence and I hope that in the future these numbers will grow”. The President went on to invite all runners, “Timorese and fellow friends from [around the world], wherever you are, to come and join us in our beautiful island, island of peace, island of friendship’.
Runners of all levels are encouraged to join the 2012 Dili Marathon, which features a half-marathon (21km), 10km and 5km events in addition to the grueling 42.195km headline distance. Registration for the event opens on 12 March.
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