RIO 2016 Olympics taekwondo qualifier Sorn Seavmey is to light the ceremonial flame at the Cambodian National Games next month, in preliminary details of the event revealed by the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport this week.
An elaborate opening ceremony has been planned for the October 25 to November 5 Games, with King Norodom Sihamoni declaring the event open following a torch relay that will include past and present Cambodian athletes.
The inaugural National Games are to be run to international standards by the NOCC and the Ministry, with an eye to finding and nurturing the Kingdom’s sporting talent for future regional and international competitions.
The country’s two most powerful sporting organisations have announced sponsorship deals totalling $200,000, as well as a reserved budget of $1 million.
An official at the ministry, who asked to remain anonymous, said the government is ready to spend around $1 million organising the event.
The NOCC said it will draw on its experiences in hosting large competitions like the annual Sea Festival and River Festival and the Siem Reap International Marathon in bringing the Games to the nation.
So far, 1,594 people have registered for the 14 disciplines to be included in the event. That number is expected to reach 3,000 by the time of competition. Traditional Cambodian combat sports like kun Khmer and l’bokator will be on display alongside international sports such as swimming, athletics, gymnastics, football, volleyball, basketball, taekwondo and tennis.
“The National Games will highlight the sporting grandeur of our country as it is the reflection of our rich cultural heritage,” Vath Chamrouen, secretary-general of the NOCC, told a meeting of the organisers this week.
The NOCC’s chief administrator called on all the affiliated federations to work in unison to make the venture a success.
The NOCC has brought in Cambodia Beer and Smart as supporting partners for the Games in a sponsorship deal said to be around $200,000.
The secretary-general told the organising committee meeting that the two companies would help support the Games, though a formal memorandum of understanding is yet to be signed by the parties.
Additional reporting by in sopheng