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Balltalk

Cambodia has just secured the rights to host the 2005 Asia Oceania Volleyball

Tournament Championships 2005 in Phnom Penh from June 27 to July 4.

As

Cambodia's representative on the international sports governing body for

disabled volleyball, the Cambodian National Volleyball League for the Disabled

(CNLVD) submitted the successful bid to host the event.

This historic

occasion will be Cambodia's first international team sports competition in over

40 years. Invitations have been issued to Asia Pacific nations, with confirmed

participation from China, Japan, Australia, Canada, Myanmar and

Iran.

Since 1999, Cambodian disability sports development has focused on

standing volleyball, a sport which has subsequently evolved into the linchpin of

physical rehabilitation in Cambodia.

Amputees remain a rapidly growing

section of society with around 1000 new mine-related casualties each year. More

mundane, but no less tragic, Cambodian motorbike accidents are also contributing

significantly to this increase. Rehabilitating landmine survivors and traffic

accident victims forms an integral part of the disability sports development

program of the CNVLD.

Special invitations have been extended to

Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Iraq to field teams in the tournament. The

participation of such a striking trio of nations in such a momentous event

within Cambodia will engender outstanding promotional opportunities for the

anti-landmines cause.

The CNVLD's long term objective is to have Cambodia

officially nominated as the ASEAN Centre for Disability sports development. This

creates the possibility of Cambodia hosting 6-8 international disability sports

competition events each year. The CNVLD has, at an individual level, enabled

disabled athletes to become fully active and reintegrated members of Cambodian

society.

Now, at a national level, the major socio-economic benefits of

holding international disability sporting competitions in Phnom Penh will be of

the utmost importance as Cambodia moves towards becoming an active and

contributing member of the international community.

- Chris Minko

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