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Many’s presence at Para Games ‘inspires disabled community’

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National Paralympic Committee of Cambodia (NPCC) secretary-general Yi Veasna (seated) and Hun Many (to his left) pose for a group photo on June 22. HUN MANY VIA FACEBOOK

Many’s presence at Para Games ‘inspires disabled community’

The presence of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s son Hun Many as the Kingdom’s delegate at the upcoming 11th ASEAN Para Games in Indonesia will be a great honour for the National Paralympic Committee of Cambodia (NPCC), its senior official said.

NPCC secretary-general Yi Veasna made the remark after the premier, who is also president of the committee, appointed Many – a senior National Assembly member and head of the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia (UYFC) – as his representative to the biannual multi-sport event for athletes with physical disabilities.

Veasna said the presence of Many at the games – to be held in Surakarta, Indonesia, from July 30 to August 6 – demonstrates the government’s commitment to promoting the rights of people with disabilities.

The participation of the nation’s leadership not only showed the high value placed on people with disabilities in Cambodia, but also demonstrated the will of the entire ASEAN family. All leaders in the ASEAN bloc take care of and uphold the rights of each of the disabled, he added.

“This is true equality and shows that we are all living in the same family, whether disabled or not. It illustrates the close attention the Cambodian government pays to ensuring that all of us have an equal value in society – and in the ASEAN family as well. His presence shows the government’s concern for people with disabilities,” he told The Post on June 22.

Veasna expected that Many’s presence would encourage Cambodian athletes with disabilities to compete for medals at the games – originally set to take place in Vietnam last year but were postponed due to the Covid-19 crisis with hosting rights later transferred to Indonesia.

“The presence of [Many] will provide motivation for our athletes, and they were all very excited after hearing the news. His participation shows the world we are one family, and will provide comfort to the entire delegation of athletes and supporters,” said Veasna, also executive director of the National Centre of Disabled Persons.

The committee will send athletes to compete in 11 sports at the games..

The 11 sports include athletics, swimming, men’s and women’s sitting volleyball, men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball, blind basketball, seven-a-side football, table tennis, badminton, powerlifting, chess and boccia.

Veasna said the NPCC has targeted gold in four sports.

“We expect men’s swimming, athletics and volleyball to return with gold medals. After this competition we will assess the abilities of each of our athletes and determine weak points that must be improved ahead of next year’s 12 games, which we will host,” he added.

Veasna said the more than 150 athletes and delegates of the team would leave for Indonesia on June 24.

Following the postponement of the 2022 Asian Para Games in Hangzhou, China, in early September, this 11th ASEAN Para Games will be the first chance for the region’s disabled athletes to compete on the world stage in several years.

The postponement of the Asian Para Games was the third such delay. The 10th ASEAN Para Games in the Philippine capital Manila in 2019 and the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi last month were also victims of the global pandemic.

At the 9th ASEAN Para Games in Malaysia, Cambodia brought home a total of 10 medals – five silver and five bronze.

This year’s games will feature more than 2,000 athletes coaches and delegates from the region, who will compete in 14 sports.

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