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Sports deal: who benefits?

The Editor,

[Re 'In defense of sports deal', letters, PP Post, June 13-26.] Regarding the

Japanese grant aid for sport, it seems that the final word has been pronounced -

comprehensive support from the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) for

the original proposals. However, to clarify a few details:

  1. 98% of the value of the order (including 100 hurdles at $400 each, etc) will

    come from the Senoh Company of Japan.

  2. Of the nine recipient Cambodian sports federations, seven had proposed amendments

    in the document submitted to the Japanese Embassy in January 1997. Of these seven,

    three had no foreign input.

  3. The Japanese Embassy intends to provide additional judo mats in a separate aid

    package. This action is commendable since it corrects the original "Judo Fed'

    order for the wrong number of competition mats. But it also exposes the Embassy's

    acknowledgment of problems and their unwillingness to address them through document

    revision.

  4. Regarding athletics, I do not claim to be an "expert" in anything.

    However, the AAAA Asian Athletics Development Officer who came to Phnom Penh in November

    1996 to instruct the KAAF track and field officials deserves a little more respect.

  5. There was plenty of time to review the order. Contracts were exchanged on 19

    April, 1997.

  6. Unless schedules have changed, no equipment is even in Yokohama port yet.

If anyone wishes to refute these statements, please can we do it publicly, with

all concerned sports federations present and all documents, etc, to hand.

The Embassy and the NOCC both note that by this aid package Cambodia gets "something"

- quite a big "something" in some sports. I agree. However, who precisely

are the real beneficiaries of this deal? Should Cambodian sport feel grateful or

cheated?

- Cathal Kerr, Phnom Penh.

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