A Memorandum of Understanding was signed yesterday at the headquarters of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia between the NOCC and Anvaya, a non-profit organisation aimed at assisting Cambodians based abroad who want to relocate to the Kingdom and help the country develop.
The Anvaya initiative was founded in 2010 by president Soreasmey Ke Bin and currently has David Yim as vice-president and Stephanie Seng as its secretary general.
Developing links between Cambodia and its diaspora in France, the United States, Australia and other countries and informing them of business, social and employment opportunities in Cambodia is another of the organisation’s key purposes.
The agreement inked yesterday by Soreasmey Ke Bin and NOCC secretary general Vath Chamroeun will launch an increased drive to recruit more athletes from across the globe to represent Cambodia at various international sporting events.
Cambodia has been confirmed as hosts of the 32rd SEA Games in 2023, although there are many other competitions in the coming years that will offer chances for international recognition.
“It’s such a strong cooperation between the NOCC and Anvaya to promote sport in the Cambodia by
exploring and opening the gates for the Cambodian athletes who [live] abroad to join us for the 2015 SEA Games, hosted by Singapore, and other international events,” Vath Chamroeun said in his address yesterday.
The MoU, made available to the Post, states that Anvaya will be promoted as an official partner of the NOCC. However, the NOCC will cover all expenses relating to flights and travelling documentation (such as passports) for the athletes bound to competitions overseas. The NOCC retains the right to a final decision on selection of national team representatives.
“Co-operation between the two Parties [NOCC and Anvaya] shall be based on the principle of equality, mutual benefit and mutual consultation,” one statute of the MoU reads.
Soreasmey Ke Bin said the MoU was “an important step” for Cambodian sport and the diaspora.
“The last few years have seen several overseas Cambodians showing their qualities in their respective sports,” he said.
“It started with Bun Kenny and Tan Nysan in tennis, and then Thierry Chantha Bin, Chhunly Pagenburg and Boris Kok in football, to mention but a few.
“Many others joined national squads for the last SEA Games, though it was not always noticed. It was a beginning – those guys have opened a road that we have now to widen, and it seems they had convinced the national sport management and the Olympic Committee that this effort should be pursued and accentuated.”
The president noted it would be tough to search and recruit athletes in the diaspora.
“We will have to broaden our network through overseas Cambodian communities to succeed,” he added.
“I’m not sure how much it will impact the Cambodian sport performance and results in the next few years, but it will be good enough to show that both Cambodians based in the Kingdom or abroad are joining in a common effort for our nation.”
“On a personal note, I’d love to see the Cambodian flag raised at the Winter Olympic Games. It will be very symbolic, showing to the world that Cambodia is definitely back on the map, and that all its countrymen and women, both from Cambodia itself and from overseas, are united behind the national colours.”