Prime Minister Hun Sen met with over 4,000 athletes, coaches and sporting officials yesterday for his fourth annual meet and greet dinner with the kingdom’s sporting heroes.
Hosting 4,096 members of Cambodia’s sporting fraternity on Koh Pich island, the PM urged athletes to continue to work hard, improve their skills, and make the kingdom proud.
“It is an honour to host the sports family for a fourth meeting dinner, said the PM. “This program is very meaningful and serves to encourage athletes, coaches and officials who have worked hard in sport and shown loyalty. Their support for the PM and the Royal Government of Cambodia is appreciated and I wish to take this opportunity to express my admiration for the athletes.”
The Cambodian premier, who dispensed a gift of 100,000 riel to each athlete, added that he was proud of the nation’s medal wins abroad and said he hoped that there would continue to be improvements at all levels. He stressed that the government is currently working to build infrastructure and urged all athletes to focus on promoting sports especially as Cambodia.
Among attendees were officials from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, the Paralympic Committee, and various national sporting federations.
The PM and his government have in recent years, been generous in rewarding Cambodia’s sportsmen and women from a special sports prize fund.
A sub-decree announced in July, 2015, declared that the government would award cash prizes for silverware-winning athletes from a special fund to promote the nations sporting development dishing out 80 million riel ($20,000) for a gold medal. Silver medallists can earn 40 million riel ($10,000), while a bronze can net 24 million riel ($6,000).
Showering both money into sporting development in Cambodia has been a feature of the Prime Ministers leadership. In 2017, he received an International Olympic Committee award in recognition of his efforts to encourage sport.
In December 2017, the government dished out more than $1.7 million in prizemoney to 211 medallists from the 29th 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games, and other international sporting competitions.
In a private capacity, the prime minister has also given cash prizes to Sorn Seavmey, a gold medalist in taekwondo at the 2014 Asian Games, gold medalist Sen Rady in the 2015 World Vovinam Championship and petanque stars Sok Chanmean and Ke Leng, medalists at World Championships in 2016 and 2015 respectively.
Most recently, Cambodia’s duo of Asian Games gold medalists, Jetski champ Ou Mouet Saly and American-born Jiu Jitsu practitioner Jessa Khan were in receipt of generous cash prizes for their exploits in the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games last August.
Cambodia will host the 2023 Phnom Penh SEA Games – the regional sporting showpiece and for which construction of a China-funded stadium on the northern outskirts of Phnom Penh is underway.
The main stadium is part of the Morodok Techo National Sport Complex, which is located on an 85-hectare site inside the Garden City in Chrouy Changvar district, 15km north of central Phnom Penh.