Athletes from around the country poured into Phnom Penh yesterday to contest the three-day 2018 Teanh Prot Championships on Diamond Island.
The traditional sport, known as Tug-of-War in English, is played nationwide during certain periods of the year.
The rules of the game pit two teams – one male and one female – against each other by pulling the rope.
This years national championships saw 200 young athletes represent 12 clubs, a slight decrease on entrants compared to last year.
Meas Sarin, president of the Cambodia Teanh Prot Federation, said the main focus of the national championships was to discover strengths and weaknesses of athletes ahead of the upcoming international competitions.
“This national championship is not only a competition for winning medals but it is a good opportunity to improve for us all,” said Mr. Sarin. “The judges and players all need to find out more about their strengths and shortcomings and strengthen their capacity to ensure their success. It’s also good experience for hosting the SEA Games, which is only five years away.”
With committee members working to include the sport at the Phnom Penh SEA Games in 2023, Mr. Sarin asked involved officials and players to continue their efforts to develop their capacity.
The game has been recognised as part of the country’s intangible heritage by the UN’s cultural heritage group UNESCO.
The sport was jointly nominated by Cambodia, South Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines, with the listing remarking on the significance of “tugging ritual and games” of all four countries. The decision was made during the committee’s 10th session in Windhoek, Namibia in 2015.
In January, Cambodia’s Ministry of Cults and Fine Arts announced that UNESCO had issued a certificate of recognition officially rendering it a UNESCO Human Intangible Cultural Heritage.