Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia’s Olympic committee again calls for recognition of l’bokator



Cambodia’s Olympic committee again calls for recognition of l’bokator

A practitioner demonstrates l’bokator at a tournament last year.
A practitioner demonstrates l’bokator at a tournament last year.

Cambodia’s Olympic committee again calls for recognition of l’bokator

The National Olympic Committee of Cambodia has resubmitted its plea to UNESCO for recognition of Angkoran era martial art l’bokator as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity, a status three other local traditions have enjoyed since 2008.

A formal application accompanied by historical evidence to prove the existence of the centuries-old practice in Khmer society, along with the Royal Government’s commitment to promote and preserve the martial art, was handed over to UNESCO last week.

Cambodia’s renewed bid follows several clarifications and additional information sought by UNESCO regarding historical, cultural and social perspectives when considering a plea made at around the same time last year.

The documents presented include a short video and a collection of photographs depicting the nuances of the unique fighting style, and letters of support from several well-regarded social and cultural organisations.

Officials at the Ministry of Culture and an expert from UNESCO in Cambodia scrutinised the documents before they were submitted, according to NOCC secretary-general Vath Chamroeun.

This attempt conclusively deals with several issues UNESCO raised after the first NOCC attempt in 2012 to seek recognition for this nearly 1,000-year-old martial art which is among the world’s most ancient fighting techniques.

“There is a strategic change in the way we are presenting our case to UNESCO this time. The Ministry of Culture coming into this is very significant, so is the steadfast support from the World Martial Arts Union, of which Cambodia is a member,” Chamroeun said.

The cornerstone of Cambodia’s submission is that l’bokator was an extremely popular cultural activity among the people of the Khmer empire and its empirical and historical value must be preserved forever.

After careful examination of the documents by field experts, UNESCO is likely to convey its preliminary ruling by July or September, with the final verdict expected in December 2018.

The NOCC included l’bokator as one of the 22 disciplines in the first ever National Games last year with the logical next big step being its entry to the SEA Games as a medal sport when Cambodia hosts the regional sporting event in 2023.

Over the past nine years UNESCO has recognised three of Cambodia’s most admired traditions, the Royal Ballet, sbek thom (shadow puppetry) and teanh prot (a tug of war activity traditionally taken part in at harvest festivals).

MOST VIEWED

  • Companies listed on CSX receive 50% deduction on income tax

    Tax incentives are granted to companies that have listed their shares or issued debt securities on the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX), whether they are small to medium-sized enterprises or large companies. The nine stock listed companies on the CSX – with seven listed on the Main

  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Cambodia mourns over UK’s Queen Elizabeth II

    Cambodia has joined other nations around the world to mourn the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, with King Norodom Sihanomi, Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Assembly president Heng Samrin extending their condolences in separate letters. In his letter to the late Queen’s son –

  • Final verdicts for Khmer Rouge leaders ‘vital’ for next generation

    Nearly a decade after the commencement of Case 002/02 against Khieu Samphan back in 2014, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is now set to deliver its final verdict for the former Khmer Rouge head of state. The Supreme Court Chamber of the ECCC,

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Railway project studies proceed

    The transport ministry is exploring options to expedite preliminary studies on key public railway infrastructure projects, especially the conversion of the Northern Railway Line that links to Thailand into high-speed rail. Railway freight and passenger transportation has been pinpointed as a major potential engine of