While controversy over a belated government grant to subsidise national team athletes’ unpaid salaries rages on, the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has released the official list of delegates bound for the 27th Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar in December.
“With government support, we have increased the total number of delegates from 230 at the previous SEA Games [in Indonesia] to 264, with participation in 22 sports,” NOCC general secretary Vath Chamroeun told reporters at the committee’s headquarters.
“We are targeting a minimum of 10 gold medals.”
The delegation will comprise 147 male athletes, 47 female athletes, 43 coaches and 27 officials. All must first pass examinations including blood tests before travelling to Myanmar.
Team spirit has taken a hit, however, with many sport federations unable to pay athletes’ and coaches’ wages for the past two months. Some officials have reached out through social media to express their concerns, while others have questioned their future prospects in sport.
A post on national swimming coach Hem Kiry’s Face-book page last week read: “The SEA Games is coming. We haven’t even received our salary for the last two months. My students and I just need our salaries.”
Vath Chamroeun responded to the concerns, acknowledging that the delay in remittance would negatively affect the teams while suggesting two points to focus on.
“First, the coaches or senior squad members should tell the juniors their salaries are safe [will be paid in the future]. Second, they will be awarded much more if they earn medals at the SEA Games,” he said.
Lour Meng, the director of financial department at the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport told the Post: “We’ve already sent salary requests to the National Bank, but they’ve not yet replied. I, therefore, cannot confirm when [federation members] can get their salaries.”