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

  • Hungarian exposes 90 to Covid in Siem Reap

    The Ministry of Health has discovered 90 people who have been exposed directly or indirectly to a Hungarian man infected with Covid-19. They all are required to quarantine at home and the hospital. The ministry is searching for other affected people. Among the 90, one is the

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara