Vath Chamroeun, secretary-general of the Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC), has called on the 161-strong team heading to China for training to maintain the strictest discipline and uphold the Kingdom's honour.

Coaches and athletes from 12 sports will fly to China for training on September 15, returning just before Cambodia hosts the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games for the first time in its history in 2023.

During a meeting ahead of departure on September 13, Chamroeun urged all 161 members of the delegation to adhere to the training regimen to strengthen their abilities to compete for medals when Cambodia hosts the regional sporting extravaganza.

"This training trip to China is very important for the nation, especially as we prepare for the huge regional multisport event Cambodia has been waiting 64 years to host.

"We are the 2023 SEA Games hosts, so we will need to train with the strongest physical and mental strength to absorb all the highest quality techniques," Chamroeun said at National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) headquarters.

Two delegates and a total of 159 athletes from 12 sports, including 15 basketball players, 10 wushu practitioners, 11 gymnasts and five judoka are leaving for the training.

Ten table tennis players, 20 athletes, 15 wrestlers, 12 badminton players, 11 swimmers, 10 weightlifters, 25 women's footballers and 15 female volleyball players are also flying to China.

The Cambodian delegates will train in China until a just few days before the 2023 games, with the long-term training camp being funded by a grant from the Chinese government.

The training was initially planned to last around two years, but the Covid-19 pandemic has curtailed this to eight months.

"In order to thank the two governments for their full support in sport, we must all be determined that this is a successful mission for a long and strong friendship between Cambodia and China.

"Please, all team leaders and athletes, be mentally prepared to accept all difficulties and struggles during training to complete this mission successfully.

"It will be unacceptable to try to shirk the training schedule as you all have to fully respect this honour, and [I trust] the training will be successful," Chamroeun said.

Wu Gouquan, consul-general for Economy and Trade representing the Chinese ambassador to Cambodia, urged the Kingdom's athletes to train hard and strengthen their abilities.

He also encouraged the Cambodian delegates to open good communication and build solidarity during training with the Chinese players and coaches, as Cambodia and China were good friends.

Chamroeun, who is also NOCC secretary-general, reiterated his call for "discipline and sacrifice" during the camp.

"Training is normal for athletes, but we have to make the most of it for success, so we all have to respect discipline and maintain dignity to honour both countries as we strive for success in 2023.

"CAMSOC president [Minister of National Defence] Tea Banh and CAMSOC permanent vice-president [Minister of Tourism] Thong Khon have sent me messages calling on our athletes to always maintain national and personal honour during this training camp.

"They will have to be committed to overcoming struggles and be ready to make sacrifices of all kinds to make this mission a success," he said.