Athletes, performers, and spectators -numbering the thousands – celebrated the opening of the second National Games in Phnom Penh’s Olympic stadium on the evening and into the night of Friday, May 25. The closing ceremony will be on June 4.
Over 2,700 athletes from across the Kingdom will compete on behalf of their provinces in 15 disciplines in preparation for the 2023 Southeast Asian Games, which Phnom Penh will host.
Speaking at the ceremony the president of National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC), Thong Khon, said that the national games are aimed at enhancing the capabilities and qualification of athletes.
Mr Khon praised the success of first National Games in 2016. The NOCC spent about $400,000 for the opening and closing ceremonies, and this year it plans to spend about $600,000.
In the stadium a parade of athletes from across the nation was to be seen. There are high-tech performances, cultural performances, acrobatic and sport demonstrations. The demonstrations of taekwondo and bokator (both martial arts) alone involved five thousand performers.
King Norodom Sihamoni handed over the ceremonial torch to its bearers at the Royal Palace. The torch bearers were accompanied by police motorbikes on their relay to the Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony.
Prime Minister Hun Sen announced the official opening of the National Games. Upon being handed the torch by a runner, he used a remote control to let fly burning arrows into the ceremonial cauldron, which bears the Olympic logo and that of the National Games.
After the lighting of the cauldron, technology-driven innovations such as laser beam shows and impressive firework are displayed.
The government declared that a torch relay would be part of future National Games and at the Sea Games in 2023.