In Siem Reap, a church campus has been renovated to become a ninja warrior playground for the purpose of offering sports for both leisure and work-outs for communities and those who desire serious exercise.
The playground was constructed by Christian group ICF Cambodia in 2016, while two contestants from the TV show American Ninja Warrior, Tremayne Dortch and Karen Robinson, travelled to Cambodia last year to visit the place and help start a competition.
“Some foreign Christian followers helped build [the] challenge game on the water three years ago, but not many people knew this place until Tremayne Dortch and Karen Robinson visited the place. We created [the] ninja contest and then spread its name,” said Mesa Kak, the sport leader at ICF Campus in Siem Reap.
The two ninjas, who are both from the US, had shown their strength and ability to go through the obstacle game and shared their experiences with young Cambodian ninja warriors.
At the obstacle course, wooden sheets and car tyres hang above the water, with obstacles to prevent walking across easily, connected by nets in three places.
The ninja warrior competition is ordered by age in three categories – 14 to 17-year-olds, 18 to 24-year-olds and 25 and above.
“We constructed the playground and organised the competition to attract people’s interest to play such sport [ninja warrior] and create a fun activity together,” said Kak.
“We opened this place two years ago. But at the end of last year, when we worked with the two American Ninja Warrior candidates, organised the competition and posted on social media, it made the sport gain [a] name.”
The first-ever ninja warrior contest in the Kingdom was held in November last year. The winner was 17-year-old Sor Sakhe, who finished in only 1 minute 58 seconds.
The rules stated that people competing in the 14 to 17 category must finish in less than two minutes and 30 seconds to be selected in the next step, while the 18 to 24-year-olds must complete the course in less than three minutes and 30 seconds. The oldest category, 25 and above, must finish in five minutes or less “Because the playground was constructed for young adults on purpose, the adults, the heavier weights, lose balance [easier]. For kids, they are light weight, [so] they can walk faster,” said Kak.
The organisation wants to attract people to play in its sport ground, so all sport activities are free of charge.
According to ICF Cambodia’s website, over 800 youths participate weekly at the activities and celebrations on their campus, which include sports, English classes and gatherings where they can share interests.
“We always collect kids and youth from many communities in Siem Reap to play sports, study and make fun together,” said Mesa. “This May, ICF will hold the second [ninja warrior] competition on 12ha of land to attract more interest in sports and other fun activities.”
The ICF Campus is in Siem Reap district’s Pnhear Chey village, in Siem Reap province.