The French embassy hosted the Cambodian leg of the third ‘Relay around the world’ event on February 16, promoting physical health and echoing France’s global promotion of Olympic values.

A press release from the institution stated that their collective goal was to cover the longest possible distance within a 45-minute period, an endeavour designed to demonstrate the inspirational power of the Olympic spirit.

“Bravo to the 200 participants of the … relay at the National Olympic Stadium: By adding up the laps run, the relay reached 1500km, the distance from here to the [Thai] city of Bangkok!” it stated.

It added that the event’s timing held particular significance as it precedes the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris, with the embassy actively involved in the worldwide relay event, spanning five continents over a 24-hour period, as a build-up to the 2024 Paris Games.

Samedy Sivathana, secretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, officially opened the event, at which French ambassador Jacques Pellet introduced seven Cambodians selected for the Paris 2024 volunteer programme. The individuals are currently preparing to travel to France to take part in a civic service mission.

The embassy said the relay was inclusive, featuring participants from various NGOs including Kampuchea Sela Handicap, the Rabbit School Organization, Shanty Town Spirit, AEC-Foyer Lataste and Enfants d’Asie. 

Students from the Lycee Francais Rene Descartes (LFRD) and Ecole Francaise Internationale (EFI) also participated. Cambodian athlete Chhun Bunthorn joined the event, endorsing the health benefits of physical activity.

Last year’s relay saw participation from 128 French embassies, consulates, permanent representatives and unions overseas. It began in New Zealand, traversed Oceania, Asia, Europe, Africa and the US, before concluding in the Asia-Pacific region in French Polynesia, as per the embassy.