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SEA Games ‘an honour’, CAMSOC confirm date

Ismail Vorajee / Khmer Times Share:
In March, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that Cambodia would host the Phnom Penh SEA Games in May 2023. KT/Yeun Punlue

The 32nd Phnom Penh Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 will be hosted between May 5 – May 15, 2023. The confirmation was made at the first National Forum for the Promotion of the SEA Games – ASEAN PARA Games 2023 at the under-construction Morodok Techo Stadium on Friday.

Defence Minister General Tea Banh, Chief of National Committee for the 32nd SEA Games 2023, confirmed the date in his opening address to attendees at the event.

“The first national event organised by the General Secretariat of SEA Games National Committee today is firstly aimed to announce the official date of the 2023 SEA Games which was decided by the Royal Government of Cambodia on March 11, 2019 to be officially held on May 5, 2023 and officially close on May 15, 2023, Gen Banh said.

“Secondly, it aims to announce nationally and internationally to the general public, government officials, police and military forces, students, citizens and non-governmental organisations to jointly participate in the preparation for the hosting of the 2023 SEA Games starting from today,” he added.

“It is also an opportunity for Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen who work in relevant institutions to gain more knowledge through the presentations from national and international panels on their experiences in organising SEA Games, ASEAN Para Games, the campaign of One person One sport, Clean Cambodia and good hospitality campaign, public order organisation plan, traffic accident reduction plan, the effect and dangers of drug use, the 32nd SEA Games preparation plan for the 2023 and the preparation of athletes etc. These are additional inputs for the preparation to becoming host of the 32nd SEA Games in 2023 in Cambodia.”

In March, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that Cambodia intended to host the 32nd Phnom Penh SEA Games in May 2023 citing a desire to avoid clashes with elections due to take place later that year.

The government has committed to spending approximately $400 million to organise the games with Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) tasked with planning the regional sporting spectacle.

CAMSOC said it had created 15 sub-committees to carry out its work effectively and is preparing to also host some sporting competitions in Kampot, Kep, Takeo, Siem Reap, Battambang, and Kampong Cham.

Construction for SEA Games-related projects started in April 2013 on a 94-hectare lot near National Road 5 in Russei Keo district on the northern outskirts of Phnom Penh.

The sports complex includes a new multi-million dollar stadium – dubbed the Morodok Techo National Stadium – which will form the centrepiece for 2023. It is estimated to cost about $200 million when completed.

The stadium has been under construction for over 20 months and the project employs 340 Chinese engineers as well as 240 Cambodian workers and technicians. It is expected to be handed over to the government by the end of 2020.

The complex, when complete, will accommodate 100,000 people, while the main stadium will hold between 55,000 and 65,000 spectators. This is an increase from Cambodia’s current largest stadium – the Olympic Stadium, which was completed in 1964 and designed by the late Cambodian architect Vann Molyvann.

Mr Molyvann originally designed the stadium for the 1963 Southeast Asian Peninsular Games – the original name of the SEA Games. Cambodia failed to organise the SEA Games in 1963 due to political issues with Thailand over the disputed Preah Vihear temple.

In his address, Dr. Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism, President of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) and Permanent Vice-President of CAMSOC also urged stakeholders to ensure the SEA Games would be a success.

“The 2023 SEA Games is not just a sporting event, but a rare opportunity to showcase and identify the rich culture of the ancestors of thousands of years of Cambodian ancestors to the whole world. In particular, it shows the national potential in all areas of the world and appreciates the proper leadership of the Samdech Techo. The Prime Minister is to make peace, political stability and development, and can organise this big event.”

Vath Chamroeun, Secretary General of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia(NOCC) and Secretary General of the National Organising Committee of the 2023 SEA Games (CAMSOC) said that the main stadium is around 55 percent complete and construction of the sports village would soon begin.

“This is an honour for Cambodia to host a historic event [for the first time] 54 years from 1959 to 2023,” he said.

Along with the announcement of the 32nd SEA Games, there were presentations from expert speakers, including Sieh Kok Chi, former Secretary General of the Olympic Council of Malaysia, Rod McGrath of the 2019 Arafura Games, and Jason Lo Jackson, Vice President of the Malaysian Disability Sports Council on the ASEAN Para Games.

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