Prime Minister Hun Sen described the historic Asian Games success of gold medalists Ju Jitsu star Jessa Khan and jet skier Ou Moeut Saly as pride of the Kingdom, calling on all national federations to work hard towards the ultimate goal of an Olympic Medal.
“As I promised 18 days ago, I would be the happiest man to meet and greet the great achievers and express my own deep appreciation and the collective gratitude of the country. Here are we are with the best ever result from the Asiad since 1954,’’ said the Prime Minister at a grand reception at the Peace Palace to which the medallists were driven in an open car escorted all the way from the airport by a motorcycle outriders, something normally reserved for top dignitaries.
“Four years ago we had only one from Sorn Seavmey at Incheon. Now we have four. But we need to work hard for more and both the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia [NOCC] will have my personal and the the federal government’s fullest support possible,” Hun Sen said.
In a much lighter vein, the PM said China topped the table with more than 130 gold medals, but asked: “Do they cheer as loudly as we do?
“For us, less is more and we have to celebrate. If we have more, there is no need for us to be as passionate as we are now. We are proud of what we have achieved,” said the Prime Minister, whose introduction of a government sub-decree nearly a decade ago to reward international success has grown substantially after a 2013.
The Prime Minister as is customary, rewarded the two gold medallists and their coaches with $10,000 each, with Saly getting an additional $3,000 for his bronze medal.
On the official front through the sub decree, Jessa Khan and her coach received 80 million riel ($20,000) each, while Moeut Saly landed $26,000, with his coach getting $20,000.
Earlier, NOCC president Thong Khon expressed regret that the country could not take home a medal from any other discipline.
He said Sorn Seavmey tried hard to retain her gold medal but she was seemingly not fully fit following an injury she had been nursing for some time, while Nicole Tubbs was unlucky to lose in a closely fought encounter 18-19.
“We have brought back lot of positives to work on and now turn out focus on the 2019 SEA Games in Manila and the Tokyo 2020 olympics,” said the NOCC chief.
The president of the Cambodian Sailing Federation, and also a vice-president of the NOCC, Gordon Tang, has announced cash incentives of $8,000 each to the gold medal winners, with jet skier Saly receiving an additional $3,000 for his bronze-winning exploits.