This year’s biennial National Games will be bigger and better according to organisers tasked with planning the premier Cambodian sports spectacle. Also announced was a much larger share of prize money on offer for athletes.
A gold medal will now be rewarded with up to $200 (800,000 riel), up from the reported $37.50 (150,000 riel) from the 2016 games.
The news comes following the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports reporting it had allocated budgets for 34 national sport federations across Cambodia for 2018.
Hun Samuth, the director of the Physical and Sports Department at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, told AKP that about 20 percent of the annual budget will be used to cover administration work, 34 percent to run human resource building activities, while about 45 percent will go towards organising the competitions.
The 2016 games, the kingdom’s first, was heralded a resounding success, although there were murmurs of dissatisfaction after it was revealed the paltry prize money dished out to medallists.
More than 2,700 athletes from across the kingdom competed on behalf of their provinces in 15 sports in preparation for Cambodia’s hosting of the prestigious regional sporting spectacle the SEA Games in 2023.
As expected, Phnom Penh dominated the podium with a haul of 102 medals to their credit; 41 gold, 34 silver and 27 bronze.
In attendance was Prime Minister Hun Sen, who took to the podium to praise participants as he had during the game’s opening ceremony.
“In the past 10 days, we’ve seen athletes from all the provinces have capabilities and skills. And some have shown the capacity to win and bring honour, dignity and pride to the nation as well,” he said.
The 2018 edition of the National Games is set to be held between May 25 and June 5.