Phnom Penh, Cambodia (28 December 2010)
The National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) has created an aquatic sports center for athletes in the country. As a result, the Cambodian Aquatic Sports Center was officially inaugurated and introduced to the public on December 27th, 2010, in Kampot province.
The Aquatic Sports Center has an area of 1,800 square kilometers. It is located in Sovansakor village, Kampongkandal sub-district, Kampongbay district, Kampot province. H.E. Dr. Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism and President of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, said that the Aquatic Sport Center is a product of the new and modern sport infrastructure in Kampot province. It will become a new tourism site for this province.
The Minister added that the Aquatic Sports Center marks another important chapter in the history of Cambodian sports. In the past, the country hosted rowing competitions in the Games of the New Emerging Forces (GANEFO), in 1966. Cambodia earned a bronze medal during the Games.
From a technical perspective, the Center is suitable for aquatic sports such as canoeing (paddling to front), rowing (paddling to back), traditional boarding, yachting, sailing, jet skiing, and power boarding. The Minster added that there is only one kind of aquatic sport in Cambodia, which is canoeing. That is operated by the Cambodian Canoe Federation. Cambodia has competed in the SEA Games four times in 2003, 2005, 2007 and in 2001. It received a bronze medal for the Youth Canoe Championship in Thailand.
The Minister stated that even though traditional boarding or dragon boarding is not an official sport recognized by the Olympic Games. However, in terms of traditional boarding, Cambodia has received a gold medal in the International Dragon Board Competition 2005 in China, and a silver medal in 2010 in Palembank, Indonesia.
According to a report from the Tourism Ministry, Cambodia joined the SEA Games at Vientiane, Laos and received 40 medals, which was an increase from 2007, where they only received 18 medals. In 2010, Cambodia also joined the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore and received one bronze medal by a female athlete. Taekwondo and wrestling came in fifth place among 45 countries in the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou. Plans are underway to host large sporting events in Cambodia in the future.
The report said that tourism in Cambodia has grown very fast in the past eleven months, since the beginning of 2010. There were 2,258,587 international tourists, growing at the rate of 11.23 percent. As an estimate, there will be 2.5 million tourists visiting Cambodia in 2010. The global economic crisis slowed tourism down, but the economy is recovering, with an expected growth in tourism.
The aquatic sports center is expected to attract tourists and it serves as a training facility for athletes. Moreover, it contributes in developing Kampot province.
Mr. Vath Chamroeun, Secretary General of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, said that the Cambodia Aquatic Sport Center began construction on February 15th, 2009 and completed the project on June 20th, 2010. The total cost was US$ 111,137.55 of that US$ 100,000 was from the Olympasia Financial Project, by the Olympic Council Asian (OCA).
He remarked that this sports center is not only for aquatic sporting activities, but also for beach volleyball training, which could prepare them for the Asian Games. That takes place every two years, and is organized by OCA. “Even though Cambodia has a few aquatic sports, but aquatic sport center will draw a change for aquatic sports to develop in country as well as international stage,” he mentioned.
By S.L (Vol. 5, Issue 1, SEAW)