Over a few days, the top athletes from the region will compete to win championships, break personal records, and demonstrate the best of sports in the area, set against the backdrop of iconic Cambodian locations.
Just months after the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, which was postponed by a year due to the pandemic, the 32nd edition is set to begin on May 5 in Cambodia. This time frame between the games is shorter than usual, which is expected to benefit all 11 participating nations.
Cambodia's Historic First Hosting of the SEA Games 2023
In a historic moment for the country, Cambodia is set to host the SEA Games for the very first time in 2023. Cambodia has been preparing for this historic event for a long time. Back in 1963, Cambodia was scheduled to be the third host of the Southeast Asian Peninsular Games, but political turmoil led to the cancellation of the entire event.
Excluding upcoming host duties and the previous Peninsular Games, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia have each hosted the most Games in the region, with four times each. Thailand and Singapore have each hosted three times, while Vietnam has hosted twice. Laos, Brunei, and Myanmar have each hosted once. The defense minister of Cambodia has confirmed that the country is ready for the SEA Games, and the Cambodian Prime Minister, Samdech Techo Hun Sen, will open the Games on May 5 with the slogan "Rising Together."
It's Free: Ticket and Broadcasting License at SEA Games 2023
The Cambodia SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) has announced that admission to all events, including the opening and closing ceremonies, of the upcoming 32nd SEA Games and 12th Para Games will be free of charge for the general public and international guests. In addition, foreign nations will not be charged for the broadcasting rights of the games. A notice confirming this decision was released by CAMSOC after a plenary meeting at the Council of Ministers on March 31. The government has also given permission for the games to be broadcast for free within and outside Cambodia.
Angkor Wat Takes the Lead: Hosting Marathon and Road Race in Cambodia's 2023 SEA Games
King Norodom Sihamoni ignited the SEA Games 2023 torch at Cambodia's renowned Angkor Wat temple on March 21, to commence the torch relay for the 32nd SEA Games. The timing was deliberately chosen to coincide with the equinox, when the sunrise aligns with the central spire of Angkor Wat, a rare event that occurs twice a year. The following day, the torch began its journey to the 10 participating Southeast Asian countries, but Angkor Wat's contribution to the event was not over yet. The World Heritage Site, located just outside Siem Reap, will host the marathon, 20km walk, and road cycling races, while the picturesque Kulen Mountains surrounding Siem Reap will serve as a backdrop for mountain biking. Although most of the competitions will be held in the capital city of Phnom Penh, there will be five host venues in total.
Philippines Takes the Spotlight: The Largest Delegation and All Female at SEA Games 2023 Parade
The Philippines is demonstrating its commitment to winning medals by sending the largest number of athletes in a non-hosting capacity to Cambodia, with a total of 860 athletes. Filipino athletes will compete in all 38 sports, including some niche sports like vovinam, chess xiangqi, and various forms of Cambodian martial arts. The Philippines has only sent more athletes to the SEA Games twice in its history, during its stints as the host nation in 2019 and 2005.
To comply with Cambodia's 50-person limit for the opening ceremonies on May 5, the Philippines has decided to showcase its best female athletes by sending an all-female delegation to the parade. The country has taken advantage of the situation to highlight its top athletes. There will be only three men accompanying the Filipina delegation: Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, chef de mission Chito Loyzaga, and the flag bearer, whose identity remains undisclosed.
Thailand Presents Eco-Friendly Kit Made from Recycled Plastic
According to Thiti Pluckchaoom, the managing director of Grand Sport, the uniforms for Thai athletes participating in the Cambodia 2023 SEA Games are produced using recycled plastic bottles. The intention behind this move is to promote awareness about climate change and reduce waste. The clothing items have been customized for each sport and athlete, and serve as an eco-friendly keepsake from the Games. The concept of "Beyond The Spirit, Beyond Sportswear" aligns with the athletes' mindset, which goes beyond competition and encompasses their entire career.
Teqball: The Most Exciting Demonstration Sport at SEA Games Cambodia 2023
Teqball, a football-based game played on a curved table with similar dimensions to table tennis, will be featured as a demonstration event alongside the 36 official sports at SEA Games 2023. The objective of the game is to rally a ball back and forth, using any part of the body except arms and hands, until a point is won. The game is played in either singles or doubles format, and it has attracted many world-class footballers, including Ronaldinho, who is a teqball ambassador and describes the game as his passion. Teqball has been included in the programmes of other major sporting events, including the Sanya 2021 Asian Beach Games and the 2023 Kraków-Małopolska European Games, and it has expressed its interest in potential Olympic inclusion.
The 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia will take place from May 5 to May 17, 2023, with some team events starting before the opening ceremony on April 29. Additionally, the 12th ASEAN Para Games will be held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from June 3 to June 9, 2023. Let's look forward to the fun and excitement
Norn, Chhorn. (2023). Cambodia 'Ready' for Historic SEA Games: Defense Minister. Phnompenhpost.com
Raksa, Sok. (2023). CAMSOC Confirm SEA Games Event, Broadcast Rights, Free. Phnompenhpost.com
Isaga, JR. (2023). Fast Facts: 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia. Rappler.com
Gunston, Jo. (2023). Three Things to Know About the 32nd Southeast Asian Games at Cambodia 2023. Olympics.com