The 4th Hem Thon National Junior Swimming Championship 2021 will kick off today at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh.
Nearly a hundred participants from nine swimming clubs will compete in Cambodia’s first major swimming competition for this year, according to an announcement from the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC).
These clubs include the Ministry of Public Works and Transport Swimming Club, Ministry of Information Swimming Club, Ministry of Economy and Finance Swimming Club, Oasis Swim Academy and Neak Reach Kampong Cham Swimming Club.
Several of the top schools in Cambodia, including the International School of Phnom Penh, will also be represented in the competition.
The Khmer Swimming Federation (KSF) under the leadership of Senior Minister Sun Chanthol organised the event as a means to remind Cambodians and others of Hem Thon’s achievements.
“It will inspire Cambodians and foreigners to excel in swimming, as well as for their parents to support them during competitions,” the announcement further said.
Thon, who once served as a deputy secretary-general of the NOCC, won 12 international medals in the 1960s and 1970s. He is widely regarded as the greatest Cambodian swimmer of all time.
The competition comes in three age categories: Group 1(10-11 years old), Group 2 (12-13 years old) and Group 3 (14-16 years old).
The event will be staged at the newly-renovated swimming pool inside the Olympic Stadium.
The 98 participants will include locals and foreigners, according to the announcement.
KSF Secretary-General Hem Kiry said the participation of foreign swimmers will help strengthen the capacity and capability of Cambodian athletes.
“It will make the event more competitive,” he pointed out.
The competition will conclude on Saturday.
The Kingdom is making steady progress in swimming and related sports, with Cambodian athletes now a regular fixture in international swimming competitions. There are also more Cambodians who are interested in the sport, according to local media reports.