Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia teams to compete in December SEA Games

Cambodia teams to compete in December SEA Games

Cambodia teams to compete in December SEA Games

The government will spend about $450,000 to send Cambodian teams in boxing, football,

gymnastics, and other sports to participate in the 24th South East Asian Games in

Thailand, said government officials.

Meas Sarin, secretary general of Cambodian National Olympic Committee said 318 players

and coaches representing 26 sports will travel to Thailand to participate in the

SEA Games December 6-15.

"I hope Petanque, Boxing and Tae Kwon Do can get medals," Sarin said. "We

send our teams not aiming to win, but for the participation and to get to know sports

teams from other countries."

The SEA Games are held every two years. At the 23rd SEA Games in Manila in 2005,

Cambodian sport teams received several silver medals, said Sarin. Cambodia started

re-participating in the games since 1995 and has received a total of 42 medals, including

two gold.

The Cambodian teams will travel by bus to Poipet where the Thai partner will help

provide transportation.

Ouk Sethicheat, director of National Sports Training Center within the Ministry of

Education, Youth and Sports said that the government has allocated about 1,800 million

riel ($450,000) for expenses to cover training and sending teams to Thailand. The

teams have been training since March.

Sethicheat said that during the training period the Education Ministry provided 15,000

riel ($3.7) per day for food for each trainee plus 120,000 riel ($30) a month, and

200,000 riel ($50) a month for the coaches.

He and Sarin said the money provided was not really enough to adequately train and

compete. "We have very few human resources," Sarin said, "We do not

have the possibility of hiring qualified coaches to train our teams." Some foreign

coaches are helping out various teams.

"Our sports development is very slow," said Sethicheat.

Khek Ravy, first deputy president of the Cambodian Football Federation, said he has

25 players from the national team training every day for the SEA Games. Ravy said

the government could spend more on the team they would have a better chance of winning.

Nay Ponna, secretary general of the Gymnastic Federation, said the Education Ministry's

contribution is better than nothing and each federation will simply have to look

for additional funding to support themselves.

"The result we get from the SEA Games is not equal to the expenses but we are

proud to send our teams to participate in SEA Games," said Bun Sok, secretary

of state at the Education Ministry. Sok said the inter-ministerial commission organized

meals for the trainees during the training period rather than give them cash, which

they might spend on something else and not eat enough.

"If they do not have the will and talent, their training will not progress,"

he said, "Medals are very important, not for the teams but for the nation as

a whole."

Cambodia had hoped to host the SEA Games by 2011, but the date was pushed back due

to lack of capacity and Cambodia's inability to host big events.