The Cambodian government are set to invest heavily in the future of national sport after a decision to create an inter-ministerial committee to manage the construction of an Olympic Park-style facility named the Morodok Techo National Sports Complex was rubber stamped by Prime Minister Hun Sen earlier this week.
Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema has been named as head of the committee and has already signed off for the establishment of four subcommittees including a technical committee, dispute resolving committee, construction management committee, and land and building surveying committee.
A 94-hectare plot earmarked for the development will require the filling in of part of Boeung Pong Peay lake, which is located between Phnom Penh Thmey village in Sen Sok district and Tuol Sangke commune in Russey Keo district near the Ly Yong Phat bridge to the east of the city.
Thong Khon, the Minister of Tourism and president of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, told the Post that the complex would be Cambodia’s first modern multipurpose and international standard sports facility.
Plans designed by local company Architect Solutions are being held by the NOCC, who will co-operate with the Phnom Penh Municipality, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the private sector in developing the complex.
Vath Chamroeun, NOCC secretary-general and vice president of the construction management and land and building surveying committees, said about 40 per cent of the site will be used for construction of stadiums, offices and other buildings, while the remainder will be covered by grass, trees and gardens.
“Stadium construction will start at the end of this year,” added Vath Chamroeun.
The government is said to be bearing the total cost of the project, which has yet to be officially announced, although the municipality has granted the land. Engineering experts have estimated an expenditure of between US$100 million and $150 million.
The current plans include six arenas and a huge weights training gym for up to 1,500 elite athletes. The 43,000-seat main stadium will cover a plot of nine hectares and house a football pitch and running track.
A multipurpose indoor stadium on 3.6 hectares will seat 15,000 spectators while a swimming centre on a similarly sized parcel of land will be able to host 6,000 aquatics fanatics.
There is also a proposed 3,700-seat badminton and table tennis hall, a 3,700-seat gymnastics and traditional sports hall and a 3,000-seate sports hall for basketball, volleyball and futsal.
Also in the mix are plans for four six-storey blocks of offices and four eight-storey blocks to accommodate athletes, which will include 400 rooms and two eating halls.
Finally, a 800-room hotel on 3.2 hectares is in the pipeline.
Sports fans across the Kingdom are eargerly awaiting the news that Cambodia will host a SEA Games tournament, with ASEAN members keen to see one of the founding nations finally do so.
With next year’s edition to be held in Myanmar, Singapore to be hosts in 2015, Kuala Lumpur slated for 2017 and Bandar Seri Bagawan in Brunei given the nod for 2019, Phnom Penh can take at least nine years to wrap up construction before welcoming the premier regional competition.