Kingdom breaks games’ record; NOCC to parade SEA Games flag through capital

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Cambodia Vovinam martial artists and NOCC secretary-general Vath Chamroeun (fourth from right, second row) celebrate the team’s contribution to the Kingdom’s gold medal tally at the 31st SEA Games in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi on May 22. CAMSOC

Cambodian athletes broke their own Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) medal tally record after winning nine gold, 13 silver and 41 bronze medals at the 31st biennial regional sports event which wrapped up on May 23 in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) called on sports fans and the youth of Phnom Penh and across the country to welcome and celebrate the return of national delegates – and medal-winning athletes – and participate in the May 24 SEA Games flag parade.

The flag parade, which symbolises the Kingdom’s responsibilities as next years’ hosts, will leave Phnom Penh International Airport and head down Russian Federation Blvd towards the Independence Monument before returning to the NOCC headquarters. The procession will take place from 5:30pm.

The total of 63 medals is a historic haul for the Cambodian athletes. Their previous highest ever medal tally was from the 6th SEA Games, which were held in Malaysia in 1971. At the so-called Southeast Asian Peninsular Games, the Kingdom’s athletes won a total of 53 medals, including 17 gold, 18 silver and 18 bronze medals.

This year’s result also broke the record for most medals won in the modern era – since Cambodia’s 1987 return to the games, following the end of its civil war.

At the 2013 SEA Games, held in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Cambodian athletes returned home with a total of 47 medals, including eight gold, 11 silver and 28 bronze.

NOCC secretary-general Vath Chamroeun considered this year’s medal count the result of a successful mission, saying it was in line with the specific goals set by the leaders of the committee and the government.

“These 63 medals have made history and broken records here in Hanoi,” he told The Post on May 23. “These results are in response to our expectations and the strategic plan we set ahead of the Vietnam games.”

Chamroeun – also secretary-general of the Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – suggested that the fine results achieved by the Cambodian competitors in Vietnam are also a good indicator that home fans can expect to see excellent results at next year’s Phnom Penh games.

“We put a clear strategic plan in place and it was a success. Our planning towards our performance as next year’s hosts paid dividends, as can be seen by our outstanding medal haul. We won medals in 15 of the 33 sports that we competed in at the Hanoi games, thanks largely to our focus on improving our technical levels,” he said.

“This was a fantastic preparation for the 2023 SEA Games. The increasing tallies are a positive trend, and testament to our preparations. After this historic result, we look forward to improving further, and finding another level of success when we play hosts,” he added.