Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - National Team athletes forbidden from taking Khmer New Year holiday

National Team athletes forbidden from taking Khmer New Year holiday

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Officials and athletes pose for a group photo on March 1. CHHORN NORN

National Team athletes forbidden from taking Khmer New Year holiday

Cambodia's national team athletes across all sports who are scheduled to compete in the 32nd SEA Games in May will not be allowed to apply for leave during the upcoming traditional Khmer New Year holiday. Instead, they will be expected to focus on training to prepare for the regional biennial multi-sports event, hosted by the Kingdom for the first time in history.

At the awards ceremony for coaches and petanque players who won bronze medals from the World Championship Single, Doubles and Mixed Doubles matches 2022 in Denmark on March 1, Ouk Sithicheat, director-general of sports at the education ministry, requested all national teams, athletes and coaches to be patient and continue their training during the Khmer New Year from April 14-16.

"We all want to celebrate and take holidays on Khmer New Year, but we have been working hard for many years to prepare for the historic event, so if we are careless even just one week on Khmer New Year, then it is all over," he said.

"I urge coaches and athletes to be patient, train hard and not think about the New Year, and when we finish our work at the SEA Games, we can visit home or travel anywhere we desire.

"We have been working hard for a long time and the SEA Games are short, so we have to be highly committed to competing for medals because the leadership has given high confidence to the coaches and the athletes for this big competition," he said.

Nevertheless, all sports can organise meals together to celebrate the New Year holiday at their training sites, though they are prohibited from drinking alcohol as it can negatively impact the health of the athletes who have a big task ahead of them, he added.

Sok Mong, the coach of the Cambodia women's national petanque team, said he supported the decision of the ministry.

"I understand that in any other country, they would do the same when there is a big sporting event. They do not let the athletes go out because if … there is any danger to good athletes during that time, it will be difficult," he told The Post.

As a veteran coach with a lot of experience, Mong said that allowing athletes a break just ahead of match day will reduce the sharpness of their technique, making it difficult for them to compete for medals in the 2023 SEA Games from May 5-17.


  • 12th Cambodia int’l film festival to see return of Hollywood star

    Phnom Penh is set to come alive with the magic of cinema as the highly anticipated 12th Cambodia International Film Festival (CIFF) takes centre stage. Boasting an impressive line-up of 188 films from 23 countries, including captivating shorts, feature films, documentaries and animation, the festival promises an

  • Bareknuckle champion wants Kun Khmer fighter

    Dave Leduc, who is the current openweight Lethwei boxing champion in Myanmar, has announced that he will travel to Cambodia this year to challenge SEA Games gold medallist Prum Samnang any time that is convenient, after their planned match later this month in Slovakia was

  • Brawl marrs football final as Indonesian take gold in seven goal thriller

    The Indonesian men's U22 men national football team were crowned champions of the 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia, defeating Thailand 5-2 in extra time on May 16 at Olympic National Stadium in Phnom Penh. The match was marred by an ugly incident that occured in the 91

  • Fresh Covid warnings as Thai hospital fills

    A senior health official reminds the public to remain vigilant, as neighbouring countries experience an increase in Covid-19 cases, with the latest surge appearing to be a result of the Omicron XBB.1.5 sub-variant. Or Vandine, secretary of state and spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health,

  • 1.4 billion dollar Phnom Penh-Bavet expressway due in four years

    The Government, through the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, has officially signed a public-private partnership agreement with a private company for the construction of a Phnom Penh-Bavet Expressway project that will connect the capital to Svay Rieng province. The budget for the project is

  • New Law on Taxation comes into effect

    Cambodia has enacted the eagerly-awaited new Law on Taxation, which aims to improve the national tax regime’s compliance with present and future international standards and economic conditions; encourage accountability, effectiveness and transparency in the collection process; and promote investment in the Kingdom. King Norodom