THE Southeast Asian Games Council has called upon Cambodia to host their regional sports biannual event by 2015 at the latest, with a faint warning that if the only founding member not to have staged the tournament in its 50-year history misses out on this opportunity, the wait for the next chance could be long and painful as bids are considered on a rotation basis.
Individual member countries have also pledged explicit support and co-operation for Cambodia to push its bid for 2015, but the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) argues that five years could be too short a time for the Kingdom to prepare for a sporting event of that magnitude.
“We are overwhelmed by this show of massive support, but realistically it may not be possible to mobilise resources, create infrastructure and develop human resources in a time frame of five years from now,” stated NOCC Secretary General Vath Chamroeun. “But we have already started work on human resource development as the first phase of our master plan for the SEA Games, and there are so many other big hurdles to cross before we can confidently say ‘Yes we are ready to do it.’
“We need the government’s help every step of the way for a mega event like this,” he declared. “We are in discussion with several government agencies and once the master plan is completely drawn, we can predict the time frame on our readiness.
“If not 2015, the next one could possibly be our target,” he said adding that he hoped fellow ASEAN members would respect their predicament.
Singapore relinquished their rights to host the 2013 SEA Games due to construction delays of their new US$1.87 billion Sports Hub. Indonesia will be hosting their fourth edition next year.
Vath Chamroeun laid emphasis on strengthening the NOCC base by goading the 33 affiliated sports federations to start pulling their weight. The secretary revealed that some federations were doing very well while some lay totally dormant. “We at the NOCC want those federations which are inactive to wake up, hold elections and usher in a new set of office-bearers who are enthusiastic to promote sport,” he affirmed.
Cambodia plans to take part in six disciplines – Swimming, Athletics, Boxing, Taekwondo, Wrestling and Beach Volleyball – during the upcoming Asian Games in Guangzhou, China this November. Meanwhile, the Kingdom’s involvement in the Asian Beach Games to be held in Muscat, Oman in December is confined to just Beach Volleyball.
The NOCC has inviting a volleyball expert from China and a wrestling ace from Kazakhstan to conduct specialised technical courses for local coaches.