Tens of thousands are expected to converge on provincial capital Kampong Cham this weekend for the second Mekong River Festival and multi-sport gala as a celebratory annual event to pay tribute to Asia’s seventh longest river, which originates on the Tibetan plateau.
The Mekong River covers an estimated 4,350 kilometres, flowing through China’s Yunan province, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia before joining the sea in Vietnam.
“The Mekong provides a sustainable lifeline for thousands in Cambodia, and this three-day festival from March 10 to 13 is to raise awareness among people to keep it pollution free so that the communities who benefit from its enormous resources can prosper,” secretary-general of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia Vath Chamroeun said.
The festival, which includes cultural programs and sporting activities involving both popular games and water-related adventures, is being jointly organised by the NOCC in coordination with several Ministries and Government agencies.
“Cambodia, as a member of the Mekong River Commission, plays an important role in this cooperative network, and this was one of the main objectives behind launching the Festival last year to complement the Sea Festival we celebrate towards the end of the year,’’ Chamroeun said.
While the focus during the festival will be on highlighting the Mekong as a great source of sustainable life and the role it has played over centuries in shaping the lives of people living along its path, a huge entertainment element has been built into the celebrations.
For the thronging masses, there will be plenty of popular sports competitions to watch, including volleyball, kun Khmer boxing, traditional wrestling, swimming and Khmer chess, as well as a sepak-takraw show. A fun run for all over 3km-5km is also on offer.
On the waterfront, sailing and water activity shows will be held on Saturday and Sunday alongside paragliding.
In 1995, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam established the Mekong River Commission to assist in the management and coordinated use of the Mekong’s resources.
The following year China and Myanmar became dialogue partners of the MRC and the six countries now work together within this joint framework.