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Festival events to get makeover

Ismail Vorajee / Khmer Times Share:
The SEA Festival is among the highlights of Cambodia’s sporting calendar. KT / Yeun Punlue

In an effort to attract more tourists to Cambodia’s coastline, the kingdom’s leading sporting governing body has suggested modifying the schedule of December’s annual Sea Festival.

The National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) is reported to be mulling featuring seven sporting disciplines at the festival which will this year be hosted in Koh Kong. Compared to last year’s competition in Kep, the number is a decrease.

Among the sports under consideration include running, cycling, wrestling, Kun Khmer, triathlon, and Jet-ski.

The Watercraft Federation of Cambodia announced it would collaborate with authorities to host an international friendly Jet Ski competition at the festival. The event is expected to see the participation of Cambodia’s Jakarta Asian Games gold medallist Ou Moeut Saly.

Nos Sles, President of the Federation, explained the competition would play a crucial role in promoting the niche sport, as well as attracting more tourists to visit the country.

Traditionally, the festival has attracted many of the Kingdom’s finest sportsmen and women and past events have been no exception. Sports during the three-day festivities have included running events of five and 10 kilometres, cycling of 10 and 40 kilometres, beach volleyball, beach football, paramotor, jet ski, sailing and Kun Khmer.

Alongside competitive sports, the organising committee also shone a light on more niche sporting activities in which Cambodians have excelled. In Kep, two such sports, jiu jitsu and mixed martial arts, wowed spectators with moves unfamiliar to the general Kun Khmer-watching public. Mixed martial arts is regularly cited as the fastest-growing sport worldwide and jiu jitsu goes hand in hand, with its Brazilian jiu jitsu variant becoming integral to the arsenal of any successful mixed martial artist.

Organised as a celebration of Cambodia’s entry into the World’s Most Beautiful Beach Club in July 2011, the festival has steadily grown to become one of the premier year-end fixtures since its inaugural Sihanoukville event.

Each of the Kingdom’s four coastal provinces – Koh Kong, Preah Sihanouk, Kampot and Kep – rotate hosting duties.

The Sea Festival is expected to attract approximately 300,000 visitors and will take place over three days, between December 14-16.

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