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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Forum promises more funds for athletic programs

Forum promises more funds for athletic programs

There will be more funding and broader scope for individual initiatives in allocation of grants and scholarships for athletic programs under the Olympic Solidarity-Olympic Council of Asia Quadrennial Plan for the 2013-2016 Olympic cycle, which includes the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro and the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing.

Delegates from 23 Southeast and East Asian countries gathered yesterday at the Sokalay Hotel in Siem Reap for the OS-OCA Regional Forum, and were given a detailed step by step tour of the four-year plan which envisages enhanced funding for National Olympic Committees (NOC) to raise the performance standard of their athletes by helping them train better.

During a presentation by the OS representative on the athletes program in the morning session, the NOCs were delighted to learn that the plan had created room for assistance in the case of continental, regional and even national events, a new component that would strengthen their structural integrity.

One particular concept that received warm approval was the introduction of interim scholarships, a kind of a bridge between the end of one event and the start of the next.

It was also pointed out that any NOC in Asia would be eligible for a team support grant to build one national team of its choice in any Olympic discipline, men or women.

The presentation on the athletes program and the question and answer session that followed clearly drove the point home that the NOCs ought to prioritise sending their advanced annual preparation projects, budget estimates and list of athletes when they are seeking scholarships and grants.

As for the athletes aspiring for next year’s Youth Olympic Games, it was suggested to the NOCs that they spend more energy and effort in talent spotting while adopting a three-phased approach – identification, qualification and preparation in seeking subsidies.

“The present plan is not that different from the previous one but there are more funds and some new built in benefits for all our NOCs,” declared OCA Games manager Haider Farman in an exclusive chat with the Post.

“The change is tremendous here in Cambodia from what I saw four years ago. They are so well organised now that I am optimistic that sports in the country will grow a lot bigger in the next few years.

“Organising a forum of this size and significance is not an ordinary task and the fact that Cambodia has shown such organisational excellence is a clear pointer as to where the future is heading for the country. We are only too pleased in OCA to extend all possible help in Cambodia’s pursuit of the 2023 SEA Games,” added Farman.

In his inaugural address, Tourism Minister and President of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia Thong Khon spoke of the Kingdom’s significant progress in the promotion of the Olympic Movement, while acknowledging the unflinching support from the Olympic Solidarity and OCA in the last four years.

“Through the intervention of the Royal Government and patronage of the Prime Minister Hun Sen, the newly built NOCC headquarters will be officially opened in June and in that complex will be Cambodia’s first Sports Science and Medicine Centre built with the financial support from Olympasia,” said the NOCC chief.

“Next month, the Royal Government will carry out the ground breaking ceremony of the new ultra-modern facility, the Morodok Techo Stadium, with a capacity of 100,000 spectators. It is also remarkable that last month, the prime minister endorsed our intent to host the 2023 SEA Games.”

NOCC Secretary-General Vath Chamroeun told the Post: “To host a forum of this stature is a great honour for Cambodia and it is also a huge opportunity to showcase our commitment in promoting the Olympic Movement.”

Olympic Solidarity signed an agreement in the first week of March regarding the 2013-2016 Quadrennial Plan with the Oceania National Olympic Committees, Olympic Council of Asia, European Olympic Committees and the Association of NOCs of Africa.

The distinguished guests during the inaugural forum were OCA Games Manager Haider Farman, OS Head of Athletes Section Olivier Niamkey, Siem Reap provincial Governor Sou Phirin and Olympic Value Program Manager Nicole Francoise Girard-Savoy.

The forum concludes its working session today.

To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at hirimanju@yahoo.com

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