More than a thousand spectators and participants turned up for the inaugural Globalteer Junior Olympics at the Siem Reap Sports Stadium on Sunday, when teams from 14 NGOs competed in events such as sprints, long jumps and relays.
“It was chaotic,” Globalteer sports coordinator Charlie Pomroy said. “A lot of the sponsors came and a lot of NGOs brought extra students and all their volunteers.”
The games kicked off with an opening ceremony featuring an Olympic torch made by the ABCs and Rice NGO, and dances by organisations representing a different country.
But as meticulously planned as the occasion was, things took a slightly freestyle turn on the day.
“We explained to everyone what we wanted to happen but they all got too excited and everyone started just going on this chaotic stampede,” Pomroy said. “There were about 800 children chasing the torch. But it looked really good.”
Sports-wise, he said the high jump stood out as the highlight. “The high jump was incredible, and drew in a big crowd – we had about 200 people watching.”
The winning under 18s jump was 1.71 metres and, according to Pomroy, “It wasn’t even a properly technical jump, it was like a frog-leap.”
He said the wacky contests such as the wheelbarrow races were also fun, despite running out of eggs for the egg-and-spoon race. He added, “We had a very structured day planned, but as so often happens in Cambodia it never quite goes to plan and you just have to be flexible. We’ve had great feedback, and it was a really good advertisement for sport.”
Pomroy said he wants to make the Junior Olympics an annual occasion. “In three or four years’ time I want people to be coming in July specifically for the Globalteer Olympics. That’s the aim. Next year I’d like a parade to go through town into the stadium.”