The kingdom’s national olympic committee chaired a progress report meeting yesterday as planning for the 2023 Phnom Penh SEA Games accelerates.
The meeting was chaired by Sar Sokha, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and was presided over by Thong Khon, president of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC).
Also in attendance was German Günter Lange, who serves as senior manager for Education at the IAAF’s Development Department. He was seated alongside NOCC secretary general Vath Chamroeun.
Mr. Chamroeun said that the NOCC master plan was approved by the Royal Government in 2016 but acknowledged that progress had been slow with some sporting federations accused of neglecting development goals.
Mr. Khon added that if Cambodia were to successfully contest for medals on its home turf it was important for athletes to benefit from overseas training and that numerous sporting federations had availed themselves of the opportunity of training in Thailand, Korea, Japan, and others.
After decades of conflict, Cambodia is set to host the 2023 SEA Games – the region’s most important sporting spectacle. The government is planning to funnel upwards of $400 million to organise the games and is constructing a lavish sporting complex, the Morodok Techo National Stadium, with the aid of China.
Cambodia failed to organise the games in 1963 due to political issues with Thailand over the disputed Preah Vihear temple. The 2023 games coincide with the National Election that year.
Ouk Cheakhat, Director of the General Department of Sport, explained that the Ministry had sought reforms in administration of sport in the kingdom, these included organising and hosting the National Games.
“Investing in infrastructure construction and human resources development has also been key, he said.
Such infrastructure – like the Morodok Techo Sports Complex – is slowly and steadily taking shape. Part of a larger sports complex under construction for the last four years in northern Phnom Penh, the new multi-million dollar stadium will play host to athletes in 2023.
The complex will accommodate 100,000 people, while the main stadium will hold about 75,000 spectators.
This is a marked increase from Olympic Stadium, which was completed in 1964 and designed by famed Cambodian architect Vann Molyvann.
Construction of the new main stadium is key to helping the kingdom meet high international standards demanded for the 2023 SEA Games. Many of the country’s other sporting facilities, including the newly renovated Olympic Stadium have recently been upgraded.
The Chinese government had agreed to fund Phase 2 of the complex and finance its completion. Construction began in April 2013 on a 94-hectare lot near National Road 5 in Russei Keo district on the northern outskirts of Phnom Penh.