IN THEIR OWN WORDS
By Ung Chamrouen
VIENTIANE – Vath Chamroeun, chef de mission for the Cambodian SEA Games delegation, shares his thoughts on last week’s tournament in Laos.
How do you evaluate the organisation of host nation Laos in their first SEA Games?
First of all congratulations to Laos, who did very well after preparing their infrastructure in just three or four years with support from other countries. I think that it was a great success for the Laotian government. Now they have good human resources and sports facilities. Laos arranged their of communications and technology well.
How were conditions for the Cambodian athletes?
It was first time that the athletes live with each other in the same place [at the SEA Games village]. The training camps were not so far from their accommodation, and divided neatly into categories. The Cambodian athletes also adapted well to weather.
Are you satisfied with the results?
Why not? It was suprising that we could get 40 medals [in total] from the tournament. It shows that sport has developed in Cambodia. This is because of the good cooperation between all relevant sectors. I’m so happy.
However, gold medals were still limited for us. We will to do our best to increase the golds from the next events. Winning more golds represents our strength in sport. We want to hear the Cambodian anthem, see and the Cambodian flag raise. Sure, we got better results than from the previous SEA Games, but we are still ranked ninth ahead of Brunei and East Timor. Our mission is to step up the rankings.
Which sports surprised you?
Petanque was the sport regarded as having most potential for medals for Cambodia, but it was a big surprise that wrestling collected so many medals, including one gold. Many athletes cried when they achieved victory. There was also boxing and taekwondo that made us smile. Some athletes were angry with their coaches while training, but when they won medals, they realised what their coaches had done just to push them to victory.
How about the prizes for SEA Games medallists?
We will respect the government’s subdecree [which states all medal winners will receive cash prizes], and we will prepare their prizes as soon as possible for them. We don’t want them to wait many months [like previous years]. We are so happy that the prime minister followed the events every day, and he encourages the winners. I’ve planned some marketing projects using the winners. I hope that sponsors will be interested in sports and help us to develop this sector.