Minister of National Defence Tea Banh presided over a spectacular ceremony marking the 100-day countdown to the 2023 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, as the run-in to Cambodia hosting the regional multisport extravaganza for the first time in its history gathers pace.

Held at the showpiece Morodok Techo National Stadium on January 25, the event featured firework displays, as well as adrenaline-pumping performances of bokator, taekwondo and breakdancing, with traditional drums beating the countdown.

A packed crowd of national and international guests – which included top Cambodia 2023 organisers and the chefs de mission of the 11 countries set to compete at the 32nd SEA Games and 12th ASEAN Para Games – witnessed the spectacle.

Ahead of the event, Prime Minister Hun Sen urged all stakeholders, especially the Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC), to use the remaining 100 days to ensure nothing was left to chance in guaranteeing the success of the landmark sporting competition.

“The Kingdom has been waiting 64 years for this historic chance to show the world what we can do.

“The final 100 days are the last chance for us to get ready and give the best welcome to the athletes who will compete in our country,” Hun Sen said.

At a January 23 graduation ceremony, Hun Sen said Cambodia will have spent more than $100 million on organising the SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games, and it was an excellent opportunity for the Kingdom to raise its profile on the international stage.

“In 2023, we will host the SEA Games and the ASEAN Para Games, which will be attended by thousands of athletes. We must take our role as hosts seriously, and not just focus on winning medals.

“We must be responsible hosts who provide a safe environment for the athletes and leaders of other countries, and ensure they have a great time while in the Kingdom,” the prime minister said.

CAMSOC on January 25 also held the 1st Chef de Mission (CDM) Meeting in Phnom Penh.

CAMSOC secretary-general Vath Chamroeun, who chaired the meeting, presented important details related to accommodation, food, transportation and doping protocols to the visiting CDMs of the 11 participating ASEAN nations.

“This morning we convened a meeting with all 11 CDMs to cover important details about the Games.

“Equally as importantly, they are all now well aware of just how ready to host we are, and that our focus will be on the wellbeing of their athletes,” he said.

Referring to them as the three pillars of the event, Chamroeun thanked CAMSOC’s principal partners – the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) and the National Sports Federation – for their contribution to the preparations.

“We have confirmed that we have the support of all the countries involved, and we are ready to host a successful Games.

“Representatives from the SEA Games office, as well as the SEA Games Federation Council, said we have done a good job. Although we have 100 days left, I think things are all in order.

“We received the support of all parties at the CDM meeting, and I trust that all of our guest nations will work together to make the 2023 Cambodia Games the best yet,” he said.