April 27, 2023
PHNOM PENH – Prime Minister Hun Sen instructed capital and provincial authorities to install large projector screens so they can organise public screenings of the upcoming 32nd SEA Games events. He explained that the Olympic Stadium – and even the Morodok Techo National Stadium – had limited seating when compared with demand by the public.
All of the events will be free admission, but high demand will make tickets scarce for several events, he said, citing as an example the fact that all 14,300 seats for the men’s football team’s opening match were snapped up in less than an hour.
“The governors of the capital and all provinces must ensure that facilities are made available for all of our people to witness the games. This work should be completed as soon as possible, so that public safety and security can be planned,” he said in an April 25 audio address to the nation.
“In particular, I know that there are many football fans in every one of the provinces, therefore all governors must make sure they can watch the matches,” he added.
The SEA Games will begin in less than 10 days, with Cambodia hosting the biennial multi-sports events after 64 years of waiting.
Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith inspected preparations for the live broadcast of the event on April 24, noting that technical support was being provided by a South Korean company.
“Many sports will be happening at the same time, so we need to be very precise with our coverage. I would estimate that preparations are 90 per cent complete,” he said.
“As of April 24, nearly 1,000 media representatives have registered for the games, but this number is likely to increase, as sports reporters are likely to accompany several of the visiting teams,” he added.
He said he believes that the SEA Games would drive ASEAN centrality, unity and build a strong joint community, noting that sports are apolitical.
“As you may remember, last year we had to cancel the Water Festival boat racing as we were busy hosting the ASEAN summit and dealing with Covid-19. Some people at the time claimed that the government did not have the budget to host the races,” he said.
“Those doubters should take note that we are now hosting the SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games, which are far bigger than the ASEAN Summit. Not only are we hosting, but we are doing so for free. Just as the prime minister said, this clearly demonstrates how big Cambodia’sheart is. We are not concerned about medal results, but want the world to understand the kind of spirit Cambodia has,” he added.
Hun Sen said recently that he had elected to offer free tickets and accommodation for visiting athletes and their teams, as charging the fees would not enrich the country. He said raising the profile of Cambodia would provide much better long-term benefits for the Kingdom.
On April 25, the SEA Games torch relay arrived in Vientiane, Laos, the last ASEAN member country to receive it. The relay procession carried the torch for 6km, from the Cambodian embassy to the Phra That Luang monument, the longest procession it had yet made on its journey back to Cambodia. More than 1,500 people were on hand to cheer its passing.
The torch will enter Cambodia through the Trapeang Kriel-Nong Nokkhiane border gate in Stung Treng province and begin a circumnavigation of the Tonle Sap Lake. On the evening of April 28, the procession will arrive at Prek Anchanh market, just outside the capital and within a short distance to the Morodok Techo National Stadium . Arrangements to welcome the torch home have been underway since it first departed for Vietnam on March 22.