The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports is supporting the Cambodian Ouk Chaktrang Federation host the 2019 National Championships here for the first time.
The board game, a form of Cambodian Chess, is being held at the headquarters of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) over a two-day period, with 48 members taking part.
Competitors at the national championships say a national level competition helps to provide structure and a level of competitiveness.
Like the international version, Ouk Chaktrang requires two players pitted against one another, but in Cambodia there are always two teams of people participating.
The objective of the game is to checkmate the opponent’s King. In the beginning, who should move first is agreed between players but for subsequent games, the loser is able to move first.
Largely an informal game, players usually gather to play at a barbershops or Cafes and is a popular game among men.
Vath Chamroeun, secretary general of the NOCC, confirmed that Cambodia now has support from other regional members to include the game in the 2023 SEA Games.
“We have support from Myanmar, Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam, he said. “But It is important that we send coaches to train them and teach the rules.”
Mr. Chamroeun also acknowledged that the federation must do more to ensure the sport is ready for the SEA Games in 2023 and also boost female participation.
“In the past, the federation has not had any strategic plans to encourage the inclusion of women in competition, so the federation has to focus on gathering more players ahead of the 2023 SEA Games, he said.
After decades of conflict, Cambodia is set to host the 2023 SEA Games. The government is planning to spend about $400 million to organise the games and is currently building a sporting complex, the Morodok Techo National Stadium, with aid granted from China. Cambodia failed to organise the games in 1963 due to political issues with Thailand over the disputed Preah Vihear temple.