Who says leisure pursuits in the capital have to involve alcohol? Some residents are working off drinking and dining excess at the new Phnom Penh Sport Club
Some say their under-wear is so small that it looks like a swimsuit and, therefore, feel they don’t have to change.
A POPULAR leisure centre located in the centre of the city, the Phnom Penh Sports Club, is aiming to attract more Cambodians to sport and eventually help raise the standard of sport in the Kingdom to an international level.
There is no longer any excuse for sport lovers to simply sit and watch sports on TV; right now, city dwellers are swapping their cramped apartments for facilities including a pool, gym, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and many others.
Clean and well-equipped
Since the creation of Phnom Penh Sports Club (PPSC) in January 2009, many residents of the capital, such as Khun Chanvoleak, a university student and Japanese translator, have enjoyed making use of the facilities.
''It is not so different from other clubs, but what I like most is the clean water and variety of new equipment. It gives me motivation to come every week, despite the price," says the 21-year-old, who feels a definite improvement in her overall health and believes this has aided her studies.
So Kundawn, the administrative manager and a co-founder of PPSC, agrees, claiming the club is based on the notion that providing access to a healthy lifestyle would help Cambodians perform better at work.
He adds that hygiene is a premier concern at the club but admits this can be a difficult message to relay to customers at times.
"We filter the water every day and run tests to ensure it is clean. Despite this, some customers do not wear proper clothes to swim.
Pnomh Penh Sport Club
245 Street 271 (corner of Street 264), Sangkat Tuol Tom Poung II, Khan Chomkarmon. Tel: 02-217-223
"They say their underwear is so small that it looks like a swimsuit and, therefore, feel they don't have to change. They don't understand that it makes the water dirty.
"Working at the Ministry of Information, I've seen a lot of intelligent people fall ill and become unable to work because of their poor health and ignorance towards exercise. Here, we care for our customers and do our best to satisfy their needs," says Kundawn, who has been a sport fanatic for nearly 10 years.
The PPSC has also identified the youth of the city, who are becoming increasingly obsessed by body image, as potential customers.
Currently, around 600 customers flood through the doors every day, and at weekends that number can increase to 1,000.
Unfortunately, this rapid growth does have its downside. Some customers, such as I Leok Narom, feel the club is beginning to struggle under the weight of such considerable demand.
"The space was so small, we had to wait for our turn to enter a sauna or steam room," says the 21-year-old Norton University student, a weekly customer of the club.
Lack of privacy
Likewise, Nou Vannsan, an officer from Save the Children Norway, says an overcrowded swimming pool meant she could not enjoy her swim.
"I just felt there was no private space to swim at all," she complained.
However, following such customer comments, Kundawn asserts he has just created a new, bigger sauna and steam room.
Lanes have also been introduced in the pool, enabling customers to enjoy their swim.
Furthermore, in line with the increase in demand, the owner is looking to build another sports club.
He is also looking into buying new equipment in order to give patrons a greater variety of sports and exercises than ever before.
Perhaps the first step on this ambitious ladder will come sooner than expected, with Kundawn planning to inaugurate a table tennis competition in the upcoming year.
"It is not a big deal but at least it gives people the incentive to continue enjoying themselves through sport," he concluded.