The Ministry of National Defence will provide over 1,000 Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) soldiers to the Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) to perform in the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2022 National Games this year and the 2023 SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games, which Cambodia will host for the first time in history.

Defence minister Tea Banh, who also serves as chairman of CAMSOC, urged stakeholders to meet and discuss the details of the events.

CAMSOC secretary-general Vath Chamroeun and Bun Leut – defence ministry secretary of state and chairman of the RCAF coordinating team – and stakeholders held a meeting on October 10 to coordinate and assign soldiers who will participate at the events.

Chamroeun said all parties concerned met to set out their exact manpower needs, establish the locations of the events at as well as determine the number of RCAF personnel to be trained as head trainers in the martial art of Bokator.

“In this first phase, we need 1,050 soldiers to begin and we’ll need another 1,000 soldiers later on. For the 1,000 soldiers, the defence ministry told us to use members of the bodyguard unit as they are highly disciplined and professional and have already trained in martial arts,” he said.

Chamroeun said CAMSOC will pay a courtesy visit to the commander of the Prime Minister Bodyguard Unit in Kandal province’s Takhmao town this week for further discussion, because the bodyguards will be trained as a unit and the RCAF will assign 50 of them as trainers to prepare other groups participating in the performance at the ceremonies in a choreographed display of marching, martial arts, music and much more called “Victory Drum of Khmer Civilisation”.

“[We] have a very good spirit of unity … with a single mind and a single purpose for the benefit of our country through this great event,” said Chamroeun, who is also secretary-general of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC).

Chamroeun also acknowledged the tremendous amount of hard work that RCAF personnel have already carried out to see these games come to fruition.

“A total of 5,270 RCAF soldiers have been assigned to us thus far and they will train all of the ceremony participants with exercises related to discipline, group spirit and moving together sharply as a group. So if we just train them with the technical details we need and they understand the choreography for the performance and treat it like a battle plan to execute, it will be successful.

“We hope that this collaboration between the sports establishment and the military will make our opening and closing ceremonies great and truly something to remember for years to come,” he said.