insidethegames.biz (By Owen Llyod)
Cambodia’s first ever hosting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Para Games has begun with the Opening Ceremony in Phnom Penh’s Morodok Techo Stadium.
The 12th edition of the Games is set to feature more than 2,000 athletes, official, and guests who were present among the 60,000 spectators in the capital.
Prime Minister Hun Sen officially got the Games underway to thunderous applause after a two-hour show that included an elaborate sound and light show, a showcase of Khmer culture, the Parade of Nations, and the torch lighting ceremony.
“On behalf of the King, the Government, the National Paralympics Committee, and myself, I declare the 12th ASEAN Para Games open,” he said.
The Games are set to run until next Friday (June 9) with 14 sports and 439 events to be contested by 11 nations.
“The Games has allowed athletes with a disability to represent their nations and people, and show their unwavering determination and passion for sports, which are no different from their able-bodied friends,” said politician and Hun Sen’s son Hun Many.
“To athletes, no matter what outcome it is, remember that we will always support you.”
Organisers have strived to ensure that the event is a low-cost as possible for athletes and fans alike.
The Cambodian Government has waived the food and accommodation expenses of all foreign athletes, coaches and delegates, provided free tickets for spectators, and made the broadcasting rights free for local and foreign television networks.
“Samdech Techo Prime Minister, ASEAN salutes you for your far-sighted vision and wise leadership in promoting the cause of the para and disabled community, peace, and stability through sports,” said ASEAN Para Sports Federation President Osoth Bhavilai.
“As the Prime Minister and as President of the National Paralympic Committee of Cambodia, we salute your determination in continuously championing the cause and well-being of para-athletes, not only in sports but also in life.
“Sports can only be enjoyed in peaceful times, and Cambodia, under the leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen, is enjoying the benefits of stability.
“We congratulate and wish Cambodia all the best, continue to flourish and be successful at becoming a dynamic nation with noble values.”