As the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and 12th ASEAN Para Games approach, officials have been meeting with athletes from the national teams at their training facilities to encourage their efforts as they prepare to compete in May.

Dam Dariny, secretary of state for the Ministry of National Defence, on February 25 visited a total of 221 coaches, assistant coaches and athletes of the national teams who have been training at Morodok Techo National Stadium.

She said she appreciated and highly valued their hard work in training and their preparations on their journeys to bring honour to the nation.

“The hosting of the SEA Games and the ASEAN Para Games is a source of pride for Cambodia, which has shown equal progress with other countries in the region and internationally,” said Dariny, who is also head of Arts and Sports for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party’s (CPP) youth wing.

“Therefore, all athletes must take good care of their health and work hard to respect the rules and regulations to be able to participate in the competition and win gold medals,” she said.

Ouk Sithicheat, director-general of sports at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, also met with the national team athletes for both events on February 22.

He urged the National Sports Training Centre to continue to cooperate with the national sports federations, National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) and the National Paralympic Committee to strengthen and implement training plans in accordance with the scientific consensus on best practices for athlete health and without the use of any banned substances through doping.

“Two weeks ago, Vath Chamroeun and I visited with national team athletes in China who will be competing in 12 sports and encouraged them in their training,” he said, referring to the secretary-general of the Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC).

“We encouraged them to train as hard as possible, even during the traditional Khmer New Year in mid-April 2023, when they would otherwise miss their regular training sessions by returning home,” he added.

Pun Sok, president of the National Sports Training Centre, said there are a total of 938 national team athletes including 346 women, 176 coaches and 52 assistant coaches and they have been training both in Cambodia and at international training camps.

He noted that there are a total of 226 athletes including 141 female athletes and 13 coaches sent to train in China in 12 sports with 78 disciplines, and they will train there for four months.

The training camp in the US covers six sports including Ju-Jitsu, World Taekwondo (WT), basketball, swimming, tennis and table tennis with a total of 26 athletes and four coaches who will also spend four months abroad.

The training camp in France also includes WT athletes and Triathlon competitors in three disciplines – but just three athletes total, also training for four months.

There are also a total of 87 athletes and 14 coaches training for four months in various other Asian countries including Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Uzbekistan and South Korea as well as Canada.

All of Cambodia’s other athletes are training either at Morodok Techo National Stadium, the National Sports Training Centre or at facilities with their respective national federations.