Prime Minister Hun Sen has urged disabled athletes to perform well in the upcoming 2023 12th ASEAN Para Games, scheduled from June 3-9.

He emphasised the opening and closing ceremonies of the games will be held with solemnity, similar to those of the recently concluded 32nd SEA Games.

At the formal inauguration of a cable-stayed concrete bridge across the Tone Sap River and a flyover in Russey Keo on May 31, Hun Sen called on the public to support the athletes as public participation serves as a significant encouragement for them.

Speaking about the ASEAN Para Games, he expressed the need for exceptional performance, stating: “For the disabled sportspersons in the ASEAN Para Games, we have to do even better. We should organise the opening and closing ceremonies with the same grandeur as the just-concluded 32nd SEA Games. Let us stage a firework display and encourage our disabled athletes to succeed.”

Hun Sen emphasised disability is not limited to physical or mental impairments and stressed the importance of supporting Cambodian disabled athletes while promoting ASEAN integration.

The ASEAN Para Games aims to strengthen people-to-people contacts within the ASEAN framework and foster ASEAN integration.

All 11 ASEAN countries, the host Cambodia, Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam, have sent a total of 2,692 sports delegates, comprising 1,453 athletes and 1,239 technical officials.

To ensure the success of the event, Hun Sen instructed Minister of National Defence Tea Banh, who also heads the 12th ASEAN Para Games Organising Committees (CAMAPGOC), and Minister of Tourism and CAMAPGOC permanent vice-president Thong Khon to provide a warm reception.

“The just-concluded 32nd SEA Games were a resounding success! I discussed with Minister of Interior Sar Kheng, Tea Banh, and Thong Khon if we should allocate an additional $50 million, but they indicated it was unnecessary,” he said.

He confirmed the allocated $118 million is sufficient for both the SEA Games and the ASEAN Para Games, urging the people of Phnom Penh to cooperate and support the athletes, while requesting understanding regarding traffic disruptions for the athletes’ processions.

The athletes will compete in various events, including athletics, swimming, wheelchair basketball, seated volleyball, table tennis, badminton, and football at Morodok Techo National Stadium.

Weightlifting will take place at the National Centre for the Disabled Persons, chess at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, judo at the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia (UYFC), bocce ball at the National Sports Training Centre, and e-sports at Naga World II.

“What is interesting about the opening of the SEA Games is the human movement and the technological movement run in unison in a very consistent manner. Therefore, with only a few days to go, my wife and I will attend the opening of the ASEAN Para Games,” he said.

“We have an obligation to host, and after this, we have 20 years left until Timor-Leste hosts,” he added.