Official Countdown to SEA Games Begins

As the 200-day countdown to Cambodia hosting the SEA Games begins, the nation is being urged to get behind the Kingdom’s athletes and cheer them to victory in the prestigious event that will see up to 8,000 athletes compete on Cambodian soil.
Thong Khon, (center), permanent vice president of CAMSOC, speaks during press conference in Phnom Penh, October 16, 2022. Kiripost via Khem Sovannara
Thong Khon, (center), permanent vice president of CAMSOC, speaks during press conference in Phnom Penh, October 16, 2022. Kiripost via Khem Sovannara

Cambodia kicked off its 200 days countdown on Sunday towards the Southeast Asian Games 2023 and ASEAN Para Games 2023, which the country is gearing up to host for the first time.

Thong Khon, permanent vice president of the SEA Games Organizing Committee (CAMSOC), said Cambodia is on schedule to organize the Games successfully.

The countdown of the 200 days began on October 17 and authorities will launch another 100 day countdown from January 25. This will include gatherings of heads of sports federations from 11 participating countries.

CAMSOC said the 100 day countdown will be called ‘Cambodia is Ready’ and will showcase the total integration and capabilities of the hosting of the Games to the public.

The 32nd SEA Games will be held from May 5 to 17, while the 12th ASEAN Para Games will be held from June 3 to 9, under the slogan ‘Sports: Live In Peace’.

CAMSOC has been on the right track and positive towards organizing the games successfully, Khon, who is also the Tourism Minister, said at a press conference on Saturday.

A lot of work has been carried out by CAMSOC and more will be done, thanks to good cooperation from relevant authorities, he added.

Officials attending the CAMSOC press conference in Phnom Penh, October 16, 2022. Kiripost via Khem Sovannara
Officials attending the CAMSOC press conference in Phnom Penh, October 16, 2022. Kiripost via Khem Sovannara

Khon said that CAMSOC has identified the sports and events that will be competed in during the games, sports venues have been repaired/renovated and competing locations identified.

Various companies have also already been given rights to repair sports venues, systems, accommodation and food supplies and deliveries, he added.

Supporting infrastructure, the Phnom Penh Municipality has repaired and expanded roads and sewage systems to Win Win Boulevard, where the games will be held. This will help ease traffic congestion to the stadium.

Siem Reap will host bicycle races, Preah Sihanouk will host sailing competitions, Kampot will hold traditional boat races, and Kep province will host duathlons, aquathlons and triathlons, Khon said.

Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni will light up the SEA Games torch before it tours the 11 countries. The torch, when in Cambodia after the ASEAN tour, will tour seven provinces that surround Tonle Sap Lake, Khon said.

Vath Chamroeun, Chief Executive Officer of CAMSOC, said at the same press conference that the games will have 38 different sports and 608 events. There will be 13 different sports for the Para Games across more than 400 events, which are still under discussion with the international sports federation.

Athletes have been actively engaging in competitions and training, including inside and outside the country, Chamroeun said. He added that 160 athletes are currently training in China, while other athletes are training in the country with foreign coaches and trainers. There are nearly 20 foreign trainers helping Cambodian teams, he said.

“We have a large-scale training in China. We’ve already sent 160 delegate athletes who are under a high standard of training in the People’s Republic of China, so this is something they are developing expertise,” Chamroeun told the press conference.

The sports will also include Cambodian chess, and the ancient martial arts of Bokator and Kun Khmer, he said, adding that the three sports events form part of Cambodian national identity.

This week, Bokator athletes were sent to Indonesia to train athletes there. Bokator athletes and Cambodian chess players will also travel to Laos to teach athletes there.

“It is a pride for the host country, so on behalf of the host country, we have included these sports,” Chamroeun said.

Technical handbooks about these three sports have already been produced and will go through technical delegates for finalization, Chamroeun said.

There will be between 7,000 to 8,000 athletes at the event and each day about 4,000 meals consumed and 2.5 tonnes of food will be served, thanks to good cooperation with private companies to provide services to CAMSOC.

Chamroeun said some companies have already begun working on the Games, including PathMazing which is a Games Management System provider (GMS). He said it is important to attract big international sponsorships, such as Coca Cola and Pepsi, to the Games.

Once these big brands come, small companies will also follow suit, he said, adding that the arrival of big brands bring a positive image to the games.

Chamroeun urged the nation to engage in supporting the games as CAMSOC prepares to launch Team Cambodia. He appealed to people from all walks of life to support athlete heroes and fundraising efforts for donations to support Team Cambodia.

The donations will help support the team in areas such as technical support, including hosting disabled athletes. People can donate even $1 and urged the media to help spread this movement.

As part of the ‘I’m Team Cambodia’ campaign to support Team Cambodia athletes, CAMSOC and Pathmazing have launched KhmerCare, which is the first Cambodian open crowdsourcing platform. KhmerCare can be downloaded from the Playstore, Appstore, or through the official website