Cambodia banks on SEA spirit in build-up to 2023

Clark, Philippines, December 1, 2019: The special SEA Games spirit will play a big part in the build-up to Cambodia’s day in the sporting spotlight in 2023, according to the President of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, Dr Thong Khon. Dr Thong, who is Cambodia’s Minister of Tourism, is attending the 30th Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines on a double mission: First, to support his athletes and NOC; second, to pick up some tips for when Cambodia hosts the SEA Games for the first time in 2023. “On behalf of the people of Cambodia we are proud and honoured to be hosting the important SEA Games with the support of the government, especially the Prime Minister Hun Sen,” said Dr Thong in an interview at the Quest Hotel in Clark Pampanga – NOC HQ for the 30th SEA Games. “In the spirit of the SEA Games Federation the NOCs always cooperate and keep good cooperation with each other. They are friendly and very honest to talk to each other. We need our strong spirit and our Olympic spirit between the countries and, because of this, we do not have any problems with our SEA Games Federation Council and all the NOCs. “For sure our friends in the SEA Games Federation will help Cambodia and support Cambodia if Cambodia needs it,” he said. Dr Thong said he also appreciated the support of China, which is building the 60,000-capacity Morodok Techo National Stadium in the new sports complex on the outskirts of Phnom Penh at a cost of 160 million USD. Together with an investment of 40 million USD from the Cambodian government for an aquatics centre and gymnasium, this new infrastructure will be the focal point of the 32nd SEA Games, which will be held from May 5-15, 2023. Cambodia will also renovate existing sports venues and establish a coastal zone for sports such as sailing, rowing and triathlon as they plan to host between 30 and 35 sports in 2023 – far fewer than the 56 sports being contested in the Philippines. Dr Thong feels that his role as Minister of Tourism and NOCC President is the perfect combination to promote Cambodia through sport. “We can say that a sports event is a tourism event. You can call it sports tourism,” he said. “Sports tourism brings more money because the athlete is already a tourist and the supporter is a tourist. They bring money and come to help promote our country.” The build-up to the 2023 SEA Games – the 2021 edition will be in Vietnam – will be supported by a number of social campaigns to promote a green and clean Cambodia and a “one person one sport” initiative to create a healthy and active population.