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Cambodian athletes, sports officials set to depart for SEA Games

Jose Rodriguez T. Senase / Khmer Times Share:
Cambodian athletes and sports officials at the airport before departing for Manila. KT/Yeun Punleau

The majority of the Cambodian athletes and sports officials that will be competing in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games will be departing for the Philippines in the next few days.

Cambodia is sending a 400-strong delegation for the SEA Games, which will be held in Manila, Philippines from Nov 30 to Dec 11.

While many have yet to depart, there are already some who went ahead as their matches are scheduled before or shortly after the official opening ceremony on the 30th.

These include the Cambodian national football team, who departed on the 22nd with most of their matches scheduled well before the opening. The football side of the 2019 SEA Games started on Nov 25.

The arrival of the foreign football teams, including that of Cambodia, was marred by some controversy relating to the accommodation, food and transportation of the athletes.

Philippine media reported earlier that the Cambodians have to wait for several hours before their hotel was ready. The same problems were encountered by teams from Thailand, East Timor and Myanmar.

The teams competing in sailing, gymnastics and beach volleyball departed for Manila yesterday.

According to the schedule provided to the local media, the teams competing in dancesport, badminton, indoor volleyball, tennis, cycling, basketball (3X3), duathlon, triathlon, sepak takraw and basketball (5X5) will fly out of Cambodia on the 29th.

They will be followed on the 30th by players competing in petanque and baseball.

On Dec 1, it will be the turn of the muay thai, canoeing, kayaking and fencing athletes. Two days later, players in athletics, swimming, judo, boxing, e-sports and indoor hockey will fly to the Philippines.

Between Dec 4 and 6, it will be the turn of table tennis, taekwondo, soft tennis, kickboxing and karatedo athletes. The jujitsu and wrestling players will depart last on Dec 7.

The Cambodian SEA Games delegation is headed by Tourism Minister Thong Khon and Vath Chamroeun, secretary general of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC).

Prior to departure, the Cambodian delegation met with Prime Minister Hun Sen, who encouraged them while also telling them to do away with prohibited substances and follow all the rules of the tournament. The Prime Minister also took the time to hand some pocket money to the athletes and other members of the delegation.

Prior to the opening ceremony, the Cambodian delegation will also meet with top officials of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and NOCC for final instructions and encouragement.

As the Cambodian delegation departs for the Philippines, there is widespread optimism that the Cambodia will at least equal or surpass its performance in the previous Southeast Asian Games.

In the 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia, Cambodia placed eight out of 11 participating nations. The Kingdom harvested a total of 17 medals in 2017, including three gold, two silver and 12 bronze medals.

In 2015, Cambodia also placed eight with 15 medals to boot (one gold, five silver and nine bronze).

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