The 12th ASEAN Para Games officially kicked off on the evening of June 3 at Morodok Techo National Stadium in Phnom Penh, with a spectacular opening ceremony featuring fireworks and performances by some of the Kingdom’s most accomplished talents.

Tens of thousands of sports fans and international guests enjoyed the spectacle, which aimed to reflect on the need for unity with people living with disabilities, with many unable to decide whether it had outshone last month’s incredible opening of the 32nd SEA Games.

The breathtaking ceremony was presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany. The games, held under the moto of “Sports: Live in Peace”, will conclude on June 9.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Hun Sen said Cambodia is proud to host the ASEAN Para Games to promote the rights of people living with disabilities and give them the opportunity for them to show their abilities and talents.

“We must all unite to promote the rights of people with disabilities, and support our athletes. On behalf of the king, the government, the National Paralympics Committee, and myself, I declare the 12th ASEAN Para Games open,” he said.

Ahead of the official opening, some events had already kicked off, with the Cambodian national wheelchair basketball team claiming gold.

According to the Para Games committee, 13 sports will be contested: boccia, blind football, chess, CP football, Goalball, athletics, badminton, judo, swimming, powerlifting, sitting volleyball, table tennis and wheelchair basketball. E Sports will also be included as a demonstration sport.

1,453 athletes from 11 ASEAN countries will contest the events, including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam.

The events will be observed and officiated by 1,239 technical officials, including 48 from Japan, in addition to 900 local officials.