Cambodian SEA Games medallists, coaches and assistants collected their government granted cash prizes from Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An Friday during a ceremony at the National Institute of Education.
The Kingdom claimed a total of 40 medals at last December’s regional sports event, held from December 9-18 in Vientiane, including 3 gold, 10 silver and 27 bronze. In accordance with a government sub-decree, petanque gold medallists Sok Chanmean and Heng Than, and Chov Sotheara – Cambodia’s first ever female wrestling gold medal winner - each received 24 million riels (US$5,776).
The ten silver medallists were awarded 16 million riels each, with wrestler Chum Chivin doubling up thanks to his two silvers in different categories.
Each bronze medal earned a respectable 8 million riels, much to the delight of shuttlecock trio Chea Srey Meas, Chhin Vitou and San Sophaon, who grabbed three bronzes in three events despite failing to win a single game in their weeklong campaign. The athletes were given bronzes by default, in accordance with the rules of the SEA Games, with Laos, Thailand and Vietnam being the only other nations competing.
Shuttlecock players Heng Rawuth and Soeu Vannak, and wrestler Dorn Sao also took home double rewards for their two bronze medals each.
Head coaches received cash prizes equivalent to the highest single medal won by their athletes, and assistant coaches received 70 percent of the coach’s reward. One such example was Em Heang, head coach of petanque, who was given 24 million riels due to the golds of Sok Chanmean and Heng Than, while assistant coaches, Hor Vannara, Sok Mong and Kim San acquired 16.8 million riels each.
At the same ceremony, 29 medalists from other international competitions were also granted cash prizes by the Deputy Prime Minister, with six gold medalists receiving 1 million riels each, five silver medalists earning 750,000 riels, and eight bronze medalists amassing 500,000 riels.
During her address, Men Sam An stated that the government respects its promise to honour sporting achievements, which it hopes will help encourage a higher standard amongst Cambodian athletes. “The sports sector has developed a lot in the Kingdom over the last few years,” she noted. “However, we are still only ranked ninth out of eleven [countries] in the region.”
The Deputy Prime Minister also noted the need for good cooperation between related sport institutions and private investors to improve training facilities for local athletes, and expressed a desire to kick out corruption in sport. “We should also increase the number of domestic competitions, especially on Independence day [November 9] or the January 7 anniversary [Liberation day]. We should work together against nepotism to allow the youngsters show their talents,” she asserted.