Time to inject new life into the decade-long Saigon Cyclo Challenge, its organizer said, disappointed in not meeting the event's fundraising target
The Cyclo Challenge, an annual fundraising event organized by British NGO Saigon Children's Charity (SCC), roused thousands of spectators and supporters at the Taipei School in Ho Chi Minh City's District 7 last weekend.
The event drew a wide variety of HCMC businesses, schools, consulates and other organizations, forming 50 teams that competed in eight races.
FV Hospital took home the first prize and the Saigon Cyclo Challenge Trophy. Jardines 3 and Caravelle Hotel finished second and third respectively. A group of Vietnamese celebrities also pleased the crowd in a race and a food court supplied by the city's best eateries and musical performances by local and foreign artists helped to take people's minds off the heat.
But the hot weather was far better than the unseasonal rain that left racers bogged down in mud last year, US Consul General Kenneth Fairfax told Thanh Nien Weekly.
"It is a wonderful event. I have come here over the past three years and I will be here next year. It is something we look forward to," Fairfax said.
Fairfax's UK counterpart Tim Brownbill said the event was important to his office.
"It is a great team game. Everybody takes part - the office staff, the drivers, and the guards."
SCC director Paul Finnis said he was happy that the event had been a day to remember for both spectators and racers alike.
The only blemish was that the fundraising target had not been met, Finnis said.
The event raised around US$60,000, falling short of the initial target of $70,000 and far from the record $100,000 in 2008. A similar amount was raised last year.
"That shows how the economic crisis has affected SCC. I was disappointed," Finnis said.
As the Cyclo Challenge marked its 10th anniversary this year, Finnis said it is a good time for some change in the future.
He wants to have more Vietnamese companies participate in the event next time around.
"I want to find the way to make it easier for the companies to participate," Finnis said, adding that companies are now much busier than they were a decade ago.
But Finnis stressed there was one thing that could never change.
"It is important to tell the companies all the time that "˜If you come and support us, have a good time and spend the money, I promise we will spend the money well.'"