Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Plenty of cheer for sports lovers

Plenty of cheer for sports lovers

Plenty of cheer for sports lovers

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The 2012 Phnom Penh International Marathon on Sunday morning is set to build on the success of last year’s event. Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post

Three days of hectic activities are in store for sports lovers this weekend culminating in the second Olympic Day Phnom Penh International Half Marathon on Sunday.

Setting the pace for this grand event, which is expected to attract a field of nearly 2,500 according to organisers, is the two-day Sports for All festival opening at the premises of the local charity organisation Pour un Sourire d’Enfant in Stung Meanchey district today.

“Sports for All is a gift to the under-privileged children. It is a platform for them to gain knowledge about Olympic ideals, the power of sports to bring about social change and make them aware of health issues,” National Olympic Committee of Cambodia Secretary-General Vath Chamroeun told the Post yesterday.

“Hundreds of children will gather to compete in several team games in a fun-filled way. There will also be cultural activities,” he added. Teams sports will include soccer, volleyball and field hockey.

Eight teams selected from local NGOs and international schools will take part in the two days of activities, which are slated to draw as many as 500 participants.

The NOCC is also extending its My Olympic Heroes campaign to the corridors of PSE. Athletes representing Cambodia in the ensuing London Olympics will pay a visit and interact with the children.

The half marathon will get under way at 6am on Sunday outside the Royal Palace, and the route will take in major city landmarks including Wat Phnom, Independence Monument, NagaWorld and Diamond Island.

Kids set for Games in Siberia
The NOCC announced that two wrestlers and a gymnast will represent Cambodia at the Children of Asia Games being staged in three cities around the Sakha Republic in the Siberian region of Russia from July 4 to 16.

The fifth edition of this quadrennial event, sponsored by Yakutia Airlines, is regarded as a step to the Olympic pedestal and a fertile ground to grow friendships among the children of the Asia-Pacific region. Competitions in 20 disciplines will be spread across the cities of Yakutsk, Mirny and Neryungri, taking around 3,000 athletes, officials and delegates to one of the coldest parts of the world for what the organisers proudly call the Siberian Experience.

The Cambodian delegation is headed by Nay Phonna, who also doubles up as coach for the only gymnast Khen Khouch. Experienced wrestling coach Thin Vichet is accompanying the two grapplers, Ngoun Makara and Sam Srenhav.

“We are excited at the prospect of visiting a country like Russia. The boys have been training hard and are keen on doing well. I am confident the experience will be highly rewarding,” Nay Phonna told the Post yesterday.

Coming out of a rural background, Khen Khouch, a ninth-grade student from Baktouk High School in Phnom Penh, has made remarkable strides since he got into the sport at the tender age of nine.

“He has been doing very well in the National Championships and as a 15-year-old now he is nicely rounded. I expect a good performance from him,” added the gymnastics coach.

Both Ngoun Makara and Sam Srenhav are also students of Baktouk School, and are credited with abundant natural flair on the mat.

“They are the most promising in their age group and I expect them to make a mark,” said coach Thin Vichet.

The Cambodian delegation is jointly supported by the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.

“For teenagers to go out and compete at the international level is a good sign. It not only builds their confidence but it also gives us a sense of direction in our future plans,” said Vath Chamroeun.

To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at [email protected]

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