Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Hang Chuon Naron, chairman of the joint commission in charge of the 3rd National Games 2022, urged the 38 national sports federations participating to use the event to prepare themselves the 32nd SEA Games and the 12th ASEAN Para Games in 2023.

Naron considered the 3rd National Games and the 1st National Para Games in 2022 the last chance for all stakeholders – especially the national sports federations – to sharpen their organisation ahead of the Kingdom’s first time hosting of the regional games.

“We already have the experience of organising two national games. This third national event is an additional opportunity to strengthen the quality of the organisation of all national sports federations before the 2023 SEA Games. This includes training for officials, referees and judges,” he said.

Naron made the remarks while chairing a meeting of the expert committee on the organisation of the third national games competition at the National Sports Training Center on the evening of November 19.

He said the education ministry has done all it can to strengthen the federations to make sure they have the ability to organise their own professional sports competitions. The ministry will continue to focus on improving the athletes’ abilities to ensure they will compete for as many medals as possible.

“The organisation of the third national games is almost as big as the SEA Games, so I am asking all national sports federations, the athletes from the capital and 24 provinces and the three ministries with the largest number of athletes competing for medals to do their best,” he added.

The National Games and Para Games will involve more than 4,700 athletes as well as about 2,000 commission officials and 200 volunteers. These athletes will compete in 38 sports with a total of 405 disciplines, including the Paralympics, which will host seven sports in 80 disciplines.

The 38 sports that have been included are athletics, swimming, badminton, basketball, boxing, Kun Khmer boxing, football, table tennis, wrestling, taekwondo (WT and ITF), Tennis, Volleyball (beach and indoor), petanque, bokator, gymnastics, vovinam, judo, karate, cycling, triathlon, soft tennis, Sepak-takraw, chess, jet ski, wushu, hockey, dancing, kickboxing, bodybuilding, fencing, jiu jitsu, boat racing, golf, sailing, weight lifting, cricket and billiards and snooker.

The seven Paralympic sports include athletics, swimming, badminton, wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, table tennis and boccia. The 3rd National Games and the first National Para Games are held in Phnom Penh, Kep, Kampot, Preah Sihanouk and Siem Reap, starting on November 19 and finishing on the November 30.

The opening ceremony was officially held on the evening of November 21 under the presidency of Prime Minister Hun Sen, with the closing ceremony happening on November 30. Both events will feature spectacular scenes, which will be samples for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2023 SEA Games.

Vath Chamroeun, Secretary General of the Cambodian SEA Games Organizing Committee (CAMSOC), said the opening ceremony was a great honour for the men and women involved. Minister of Tourism Thong Khon has been personally involved in the preparations, especially with regard to ensuring their safety, and the addition of some special scenes.

Sar Sokha, secretary of state of the education ministry in charge of sports, urged all national sports stakeholders to participate in preventing the use of banned substances. This must be done to uphold the honour of the Kingdom ahead of the hosting of next year’s international events, for the first time in Cambodia’s history.

“I would like to send a message to all committees of the 3rd National Games, the representatives of the 38 national sports federations and the Paralympic Games, as well as the capital-provincial delegates. Let’s all work together to understand the fight against the use of banned substances in sports to avoid being banned by the World Doping Agency on our journey towards the 2023 SEA Games,” he said.

He urged the technical committees of the national sports federations to ensure accuracy and fairness to all competitors and make the event successful.

“It is very important to provide justice in this competition. We should judge by our own eyes, because this will encourage the efforts of the athletes who will travel from the provinces to participate. Even though about 60 to 70 per cent of the Kingdom’s sporting representatives have now been sent abroad for extra training, we must still remain focused on correcting any weaknesses ahead of the SEA Games,” he added.