This year’s Sea Festival, held over three days from December 9-11 in Preah Sihanouk province, included several sports competitions which were open to the public to attend.

Vath Chamroeun, secretary-general of the Cambodia SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC), said the preparations had gone smoothly and successfully and drew the support of many people and that this was a good sign for achieving high attendance for the upcoming 32nd SEA Games in 2023.

He added that despite the three-on-three basketball competition being cancelled, the running and bicycle races, Kun Khmer SEA championship 2022 and sailboat races at sea were all held as planned and went well.

“We saw that the 3km and 5km runs at the Sea Festival had a large attendance from students and residents in Preah Sihanouk province,” he continued.

Regarding the 40km, 20km and 15km bicycle races, Chamroeun said: “We had participants from many provinces and from Phnom Penh, and we had some foreigners such as from the Philippines and the UK who live in Preah Sihanouk province, and some different organizations. Youngsters also participated in the cycling to create a pleasant atmosphere for the programme.”

“This participation by the residents of the province shows friendship, solidarity and love for sports in advance of the 2023 SEA Games,” he said. “So, we hope we encourage them to play sports for their health and personal welfare, which will also reduce public health costs.”

Nou Chamroeun, secretary-general of the Cambodian Cycling Federation (CCF), said the cycling race at the Sea Festival was not focused too heavily on competition, but was more for pleasure and the celebration of the festival.

“Most of the participants in the cycling programme just rode bicycles for pleasure. Many students and foreigners who live in Cambodia participated, whereas many of our skilled cyclists were busy participating in the fourth round of mountain cycling in Chroy Changvar district’s Preaek Leab commune on Sunday,” he added.

The Kun Khmer SEA championship 2022 competition was attended by six countries: Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar. However, Thailand did not send fighters to enter the competition and only sent its technical officials to attend.

“We held this Kun Khmer SEA championship 2022 under international standards as part of the journey to the 2023 SEA Games, we called it a SEA Games preview event. The Kun Khmer fights saw an attendance of over 1,000 students and youths in celebration of this with six other countries,” he said.

Chamroeun said he appreciated all members of the organising committee for their efforts to hold the competition, which was a good learning experience for the 2023 SEA Games.

“Though we still have room for improvement, our event went smoothly and safely,” he said.

At the Kun Khmer event, held Friday and Saturday, male fighters Lao Chetra and Him Kim Rieng – along with female fighter Meuy Soeng – won gold medals in their respective weight classes. However, SEA Games gold medallist Po Pheaerith was unable to compete because he failed to make the weight requirement of 63.5kg for his class.