The chairman of the Cambodia SEA Games Organizing Committee 2023 (Camsoc), Deputy Prime Minister Tea Banh, is reportedly seeking from the government a “clear spending” of $35 million in competition costs alone when the Kingdom hosts the biennial regional sporting spectacle five years from now, with each of the 35 events tentatively estimated to cost $1 million each.
According to sources privy to discussions on budgetary matters regarding the hosting of the Games, there will be additional financial implications to deal with and other major logistical challenges like human resources, transport and an ambitious long-term intensive training program for nearly 1,000 athletes stretching over at least three years.
While the government has already pledged its commitment to shoulder the financial burden, the organising panel will also strongly push for private sector investment and partnerships to support Games preparations.
Meanwhile, secretary-general of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia Vath Chamroeun, who is also the secretary-general of Camsoc, indicated that the main responsibility of the proposed Camsoc Secretariat would be to ensure the orderly implementation of the master plan and the activities clearly defined within it.
According to the top NOCC administrator, the action plan consists of three distinct phases – before, during and after the Games, with the committee evaluating the progress from one phase to the next.
Unique training program
The Morodok Techo Sports Complex, the huge multimillion-dollar China-financed infrastructure project which will be the centrepiece of the SEA Games, is scheduled to be completed well before the start of the Games to allow adequate time for evaluation and the testing of the facilities and venues.
The country’s prime sports body also has a unique training program on the drawing board to raise the competitive standards of the country’s athletes. According to Chamroeun, the program will involve hundreds of athletes over a period of at least three to four years.
While the enormous cost of going through such a program could raise serious fiscal concerns and budgetary pressures, the NOCC is confident of overcoming such challenges.
Cambodia could well take a page out of Malaysia’s highly successful book and introduce similar programs to those that led to Malaysia capturing a record 145 gold medals last year when it hosted the Games in Kuala Lumpur, the cost of which was said to be in the region of RM100 million (around $25.5 million)