The ‘free’ 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games officially kicked off with a grand opening ceremony in Phnom Penh on the evening of May 5, and will run till May 17. Cambodia has been waiting for 64 years to host this spectacular regional sporting extravaganza.
The opening was attended by Prime Minister Hun Sen, his wife, Lao President Thongloun Sisoulith, and delegates from regional sporting bodies.
“Long Live the Kingdom of Cambodia! ‘Sport: Live in peace’, a peace for all and all for peace”, said Prime Minister Hun Sen referencing the motto for this year’s editions of the SEA Games and the ASEAN Para Games.
“On behalf of His Majesty, the Royal Government, and on my own behalf, I declare the 32rd SEA Games open,” Hun Sen said.
National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) president Thong Khon, who is also Minister of Tourism, extended a welcome to “all 10,890 athletes” and visitors in the Kingdom for the Games. The figure is understood to include coaches and other delegates.
Cambodia SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) head Tea Banh, who doubles as the Minister of National Defence, remarked that this year’s SEA Games is more than a mere sporting event, but a chance to further promote cooperation among regional countries in various fields.