Ministers Urge Support for National Games Curtain Raiser

Ismail Vorajee / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Traditional Cambodian dancers practice at the National Olympic Stadium ahead of their big day on Friday. KT /

With competition in Cambodia’s first National Games getting off to a smooth start on Wednesday, preparations for the opening ceremony on Friday have brought all hands on deck at the two government ministries charged with organizing the Kingdom’s first event of its kind.
Members of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport have been allotted the task of spending the estimated $1 million budget for the Games.
Both NOCC President Thong Khon and Secretary-General Vath Chamroeun, as well as an assortment of other ministry officials, have been in attendance at Phnom Penh’s National Olympic Stadium overseeing preparations for a lavish opening ceremony to be attended by Prime Minister Hun Sen, celebrities, musicians and Cambodian sports stars both past and present.
Mr. Khon, as reported by the NOCC’s official website, urged volunteers and those involved on Friday to prepare well as time is so short. However, he added that he was confident that the opening day will go smoothly.
Yesterday, the Armed Forces took to the field to practice their Bokator show – the culmination of an Memorandum of Understanding signed earlier this year between government officials and members of the NOCC.
 Mr. Chamroeun, who also serves as president of the Cambodian Bokator Federation, said at the time that the agreement would help preserve Cambodia’s cultural heritage and also serve as an important tool for the Kingdom’s soldiers. Cambodia is currently lobbying for its ancient martial art of Bokator to be added to UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
In addition to the Bokator show, a troupe of traditional dancers and drummers will join much-loved musicians Aok Sokunkanha, Sou Sreypich, Preab Sovath and Khemarak Sereymon to add some glitz to Friday’s ceremony.
Speaking in a press conference last week, secretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport Sean Borat said he hoped to see Cambodians turn out in numbers to support their athletes.
 “We will open the National Stadium to let people come to watch the National Games. Our stadium can hold 50,000 to 60,000 people, so please, all people, come to visit during the opening ceremony day [October 28] and on the closing ceremony day [November 5].”
 “We have 2,700 athletes and delegates and 548 technical officials. There are 15 sports with 189 categories,” he added.

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