Malaysia contributes to sports development in Cambodia

Malaysia contributes to sports development in Cambodia
Malaysia contributes to sports development in Cambodia

Malaysia is one country that is playing an important role in the development of golf, football and other sports in the Kingdom. In June, a delegation led by Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) President Dato’ Chong Kim Fatt visited Cambodia to forge stronger ties with the NOCC.

“We would like to thank the OCM, under the leadership of Tan Sri Dr. Norza Zakaria, for having initiated such a noble effort to promote the exchange of ideas and cooperation among NOCs,” NOCC Secretary-General Vath Chamroeun told the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC).

“We would also like to express our sincere appreciation to Dato’ Sieh Kok Chi who has provided great assistance and has always become our source of reference in many aspects for the organisation of the first SEA Games in Cambodia,” he added.

Football, which is the most popular sport in this country of 16 million people, is the biggest beneficiary of Malaysian help.

Many of Cambodia’s top football players have experience playing in the Malaysian Super League (MSL), one of the top professional football leagues in Southeast Asia.

The likes of Chan Vathanaka (Pahang FA and Selangor FC), Prak Mony Udom (Negeri Sembilan FC), Thierry Chantha Bin (Terengganu FC and Perak FC) honed their skills while playing in the MSL.

Malaysia is also a favourite destination for CPL teams seeking to test and improve their skills in the pre-season.

In June, Phnom Penh Crown FC and Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng FC were in Malaysia for a series of friendly matches with their counterparts from Kuala Lumpur, Terengganu and other states.

The Malaysian Embassy also staged several golf tournaments, in addition to hosting badminton, bowling and cycling events.

In fact, Malaysian Ambassador to Cambodia Eldeen Husaini Mohd Hashim mentioned a plan to hold the Malaysian Ambassador’s Cup Bowling Tournament.

In 2019, the Malaysian Embassy staged the 1st Malaysian Friendship Cup Golf Tournament at the Grand Phnom Penh Golf Club in Phnom Penh.

The event drew 56 golfers of various nationalities and was sponsored by many Malaysian-owned businesses in Cambodia.

Malaysians are also regular participants and sponsors of many other golf events in the Kingdom.

The promotion and development of golf also benefits from the monthly tournaments of the Buaya Club, an organisation headed by Malaysian businessman Kelvin Ng whose members are drawn together by a shared passion for sports and charitable activities. Most of the members of the club are from Malaysia and are prominent members of the foreign business community here.

To date, Buaya Club staged 183 golf tournaments across various venues in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap since 1999.

In brief sports development in Cambodia has benefited from the assistance and generosity of many countries.

Through the years, many nations in Asia, Europe, North America and other places have, in one way or another, helped move the sports sector forward.

Some countries like China, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea and Japan regularly host training programmes for Cambodian athletes. Others have donated sports equipment to the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC), Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) and individual federations.

Japan, for example, handed over a new running track to the MoEYS last year under the Kusanone Grant for Cultural Projects.

Some 161 Cambodian athletes, meanwhile, will fly to China later this month for more advanced training in gymnastics, swimming, volleyball, football, table tennis, weightlifting, badminton, wushu, wrestling and three other sports.

Citizens of many countries who are residing in Cambodia and their organisations were behind many activities that have enriched the local sports sector. For example, the Indian community here has introduced and developed cricket, a sport that will appear for the second time in the Southeast Games in Cambodia next year.

Many foreign companies with a local presence have also sponsored numerous tournaments and related activities in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Siem Reap and other provinces.

Not to be overlooked is the fact that the Cambodian Premier League (CPL), the country’s top football league, is populated with many foreign players from South America, Asia, North America, Europe and Africa, playing alongside their local counterparts.