The 3rd National Games and 1st National Paralympic Games came to a close on Wednesday after 12 days of competitions in five venues countrywide, with a spectacular display of performances, including rapper VannDa, and fireworks lighting up the sky to cap the occasion.
The closing ceremony presented an evening of colourful entertainment, including a parade of dancing children waving flowers and an energetic performance from singer and actress Aok Sokunkanha.
The crowd erupted with excitement when VannDa took centre stage to sing his top hit 'Time to Rise’ at Morodok Techo National Stadium in Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district.
Sar Sokha, Secretary of State, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, said at the ceremony that the games have been held to gain experience in preparation for the 32nd SEA Games and the 12th ASEAN Para Games 2023, which Cambodia is hosting next year.
He added that athletes from the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of National Defence, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Prey Veng Province, Siem Reap Province and Phnom Penh won the most medals respectively.
For the para games, athletes from Kandal, Svay Rieng, Kampot, Phnom Penh Capital City, Kampong Speu and Prey Veng provinces secured the most medals, Sokha said.
Thong Khon, President of National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC), said at the ceremony that the games went smoothly and were successful in the process of competing in all 38 sports, both in the capital and provinces.
Khon added that, in particular, sports federations have correctly implemented the principles, standards and regulations of international sports competitions, respected the professional ethics of sports, and have been consistent and avoided technical conflicts, especially avoiding the use of stimulants and drugs.
Prime Minister Hun Sen presided over the closing ceremony and took the opportunity to celebrate the inclusion of the martial arts "Kun Lbokator" inscribed on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The games were watched by more than 40,000 physical audiences and watched by millions online, Hun Sen said.
Hun Sen urged the athletes not to be upset whether they had lost and should see the experiences as lessons and experiences that will help increase capabilities to further improve professional skills.
“Being disappointed or discouraged by a loss might cause the athletes to lose the capacity to endure and keep attempting to win the race in the future,” Hun Sen said.
Hun Sen also said champions must make further efforts to preserve the level of their sports in order to win for the country in international competitions.
Hun Sen announced that ministries, institutions, and capital-provincial authorities who do not currently have sports teams must form sports units or sports organizations within the Ministry in order to develop Cambodian sports and prepare for the 2023 SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games.
Hun Sen encouraged everyone to follow the spirit of one person, one host, particularly those in the capital-provinces preparing to host the 2023 SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games next year to clean up and care for the environment, well-designed and adorned to improve the beauty of its foundation to Cambodia's image and capture the attention of sports delegates and foreign visitors who will come to host in Cambodia in 2023.
He also encouraged citizens to continue to help the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia's campaign "Beyond the Games" to raise awareness of the beneficial implications of hosting a big sporting event.
Hun Sen also announced that the Angkor Sangkran or the Khmer New Year next year will be allowed to return to Siem Reap again after delays for almost 3 years because of Covid-19 pandemic.
"I would also like to reassure you that we will conduct Angkor Sangkran again in April 2023 and our Lbokator will become a significant symbol of the gathering in Angkor Sangkran,” Hun Sen said.