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FIRST TIME CHAMPS!

Many Cambodian youths have jumped into activities that improve their quality of life, and a growing number of these students are choosing sports, which provide good health and an opportunity to form strong relationships with others.

At Cambodia’s schools and universities there are a number of sports programmes getting started, both formal and informal, that give students a chance to play away.

Football is certainly not new to Cambodia; it has been around in some form for hundreds of years and is widely considered the most popular sport in the world.

To encourage students, the director of the Royal University of Phnom Penh and other supporters have been organising football matches at the university.

This year, there were 12 football teams from different departments that competed for the school championship. The matches started on February 20 and finished last Saturday.

In the final match, players from the Department of Japanese Studies (DJS) and the Department of Media and Communication (DMC) squared off with those from the Department of Khmer Literature in front of a crowd of students and lecturers.

The competition was heated, and in the end the DJS and DMC prevailed, winning their first championship game. Thea Rath Panha, a fourth-year student in the DJS and the team captain of the winning squad, said victory was theirs because “we strengthened our team by uniting our members and assigning them to play in the proper place”.

The director of the DMC, Tieng Sopheak Vichea, said, “We are very satisfied with this result because it is the product of our hard work and our unity, and I will have a small party for them as a reward.”

This event showcased the high level of cooperation between schools and their students, both present and those who have already finished their studies, said Pon Chhay, RUPP’s deputy director.

“These matches are sponsored by some private companies and especially by the students from each department,” Pon Chhay said. “Some of them have graduated, yet still they help one another.”

While the competition is over for RUPP, student footballers still have plenty of chances to hone their skills on the pitch.

“The competition is not finished yet. The MoEYS [Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport] is going to form the national tournament in early June of this year”, Pon Chhay said.

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