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Cambodia sends quality

Cambodia sends quality

NOCC President Thong Khon hopes for a greater medal tally at this year’s SEA Games.

Less is more, say the NOCC, as they prepare for the SEA Games

THE National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) held a meeting Friday to discuss preparations for the upcoming Southeast Asia Games in Vientiane in December. According to Vath Chamroeun, general secretary of the NOCC and chief of mission of the Cambodian delegation, the Kingdom will send a total of 180 officials and athletes.

Of the 14 officials heading to Laos, two are members of the Olympic Council of Southeast Asia, two hail from the Ministry of Education, three will be in charge of administration, one will control finance, one will be a doctor and two assistants will accompany Vath Chamroeun. Some 123 athletes will make the trip to Vientiane, of which 31 are female, joined by 36 coaches and 7 team leaders.

The athletes will compete in 19 sports including archery, athletics, boxing, cycling, judo, karatedo, sepak takraw, wushu, wrestling, taekwondo, shuttlecock, petanque, beach volleyball, table tennis, badminton, tennis, swimming, golf and U23 football.

The number of delegates is a significant decrease compared with the previous games held in Thailand in 2007, when Cambodia sent 232 athletes and 68 officials to compete in 20 sports, and won 18 medals (2 golds, 5 silvers and 11 bronzes).

NOCC President Thong Khon said the decrease in delegates sent this year was do to a more selective approach. “The lower number does not mean that we are weak,” he said Monday. “Rather, we selected carefully by thinking about quality. We don’t want many athletes to go there for nothing, and we hope to get more medals than previous SEA Games.”

The president went on to note the Kingdom’s best hopes for success. “We are always confident in all sports,” he said. “But we especially expect petanque, beach volleyball, taekwondo, wrestling and also tennis to make us smile, because they all won medals in the past.”

Thong Khon said the NOCC would follow the sub-decree by the government for the financial support of athletes and their coaches who obtain medals in the SEA Games. “We will [award the cash prizes] as soon as possible because we don’t want [the successful athletes and coaches] waiting many months like previous years,” he said, adding that they are still in need of extra financial support from individuals, companies and enterprises to help “encourage the medalists who tried their best for the nation”.

Cambodians wishing to attend the SEA Games in Laos are welcomed by the NOCC, who ask for them to contact their office as early as possible to help arrange transport and accommodation.

Most officials and athletes will leave by bus December 5, three days before the official ceremony. However, the football squad and officials will leave by bus this Saturday to prepare for Group A fixtures beginning December 4.