Today, I am very pleased to be here to inaugurate the New Headquarter Building of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia. The Headquarter building, which is a new physical infrastructure, will become essential foundation for strongly supporting the constant development of the sport sector, eventually contributing to Cambodia’s socio-economic development. 

Taking this opportunity, I would like to commend and highly value the effort made by the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, Ministry of Economy and Finance and the OCIC Company to realize the new headquarter of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia. The building in Phnom Penh Capital has been considered as relatively the most modern and the largest construction in ASEAN and some countries in Asia and is historical building, which will not only promote the Olympic movement in the Kingdom of Cambodia and international Olympic movement, but also gradually make Phnom Penh more attractive and beautiful.

In this spirit, I still continue my strong support to further construct and develop other achievements, which will offer benefits to our people and society as we have witnessed the development of physical infrastructure in the sport sector such as the repair of the national multi-purposes stadium (Olympic Stadium), the construction of the Morodok Techo National Sport Complex and the new Headquarter of the National Olympic Stadium of Cambodia, etc.  Similarly, we will make the greatest efforts to continue constructing other stadiums in the provinces and towns because we clearly understand that the sport can be made good progress only when the physical infrastructures are in place, coupled with the effective management and visionary leadership in the sector.  In this regard, I would like to emphasize that although physical infrastructure exists, careless management and leadership will not make it favorable for the development of the sport sector. This is a logical reflection that we have to understand and be cautious.

At the present and in the future, we would wish to see good progress in sport sector to help take our face and prestige up in the international stage because Cambodia’s sports used to have good reputation in the region and Asia in 1960s. The Kingdom of Cambodia organized Asia Sports Event, called GANEFO or Games of the New Emerging Forces, in 1966 with the participants from 15 countries. However, due to internal conflict starting from 1970 and the Pol Pot genocidal regime for 3 years, 8 months and 20 days, the sport sector and other sectors have been destroyed and thus sport staffs, coaches and athletes, who were used to have good reputation and to win medals, were killed almost all.

We still remember that during the 3 years, 8 months and 20 days in the genocidal regime, Cambodian people had prayed to God all days and nights, asking for help them to escape from the cruel regime. Eventually, the praying had conveyed the spirit to God, enabling the public movement to be able to gather patriots and armed forces of the Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation led by Samdech CheaSim, Samdech Heng Samrin and myself, together with other figures, who are now the management of the Cambodian People’s Party to liberalize the country and rescue Cambodian people from the regime.

January 07, 1979 is marked as the end of the Pol Pot regime and liberation day for the nation and Cambodian people. Therefore, we have considered the January 07, 1979 as the greatest historical victory day and the second birthday of our people. January 07, 1979 is not only the liberation day of the nation and Cambodian people from the genocidal regime, but also resurrection day for all forms of the rights; and we have restored all sectors, particularly education and sport sector had been rehabilitated and reorganized. We tried our best to gather the survival athletes to form the sports team and we repaired the Olympic Stadium, which was built during 1962-1964 and old stadium known as Lambert stadium built during 1937-1944.

Overall, since the victory day of 7th January 1979, we made the concerted effort to reactivate the Olympic movement and organize the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia; and finalized the process in 1985. However, Cambodia was still in civil conflict during this period, as a consequence, the progress in sport sector had been very slow and only in 1994, the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia was accessed to be a full member of the International Olympic Committee and sport has been put under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.

In parallel, we also have strengthened the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, which is a representative of the International Olympic Committee to the Kingdom of Cambodia and also have strengthened the national sport federation to manage and develop professional sports and highly professional sport in compliance with the standard of international profession through the promotion and supervision of all the national federation, particularly in accordance with the implementation of fair-play principle, which is a fundamental part of the game to enhance prestige and Olympic and non-Olympic values – Respect, Friendship and Excellence.  As a member of the International Olympic Committee and Olympic Council of Asia, Cambodia’s sport has been integrated and participated in international sport contest at all levels in the region such as SEA games, Asian games and Olympic games and often won medal and enhanced the national prestige gradually. As mentioned by H.E Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism, the pride for the Kingdom of Cambodia and our sport are the wining of 3 gold medals, 10 silver medals and 27 bronze medals, totally 40 medals in the SEA game in 2009 in Vientiane, Lao PDR; and in 2011 at Palembang City, Indonesia, we won 8 gold medals, 17 silver medals and 25 bronze medals, totally 50 medals. In addition, Paralympic sports, which refers to athlete with physical disabilities and amputation, also has been participated in international sport contest and has gained a number of gold, silver and bronze medals as athletes with full physicality do.

Having seen the good progress made in Cambodia’s sport sector in both Olympic and non-Olympic, I am thinking of promoting the development of physical infrastructure such as the repairing of the Olympic Stadium and recently I made a decision to build new sport stadium – the Morodok Techo National Sport Complex to prepare ourselves to organize SEA game in 2023 and other international sport contests. In addition, to have convenient working place for the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia and all national federations for both Olympic and non-Olympic sports, I approved to offer land of 10,000 metric squares in the east part of the national multi-purposes stadium requested by H.E. Thong Khon to construct new headquarter building of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia by following the formula of “getting leave of palm tree, wrapping sugar palm”, which has been done in the past.

In this context, the preparation of sport infrastructure either the training playground or national and international competition playground should reconsider preparing appropriately from now on in order to move toward the advantage as a host of the SEA Game 2023 and other international sports competition.  Taking this opportunity, I would like to announce to the compatriots, companies, enterprises, business people, national and international organizations, friend countries and all people throughout the country to participate in the campaign “All toward the SEA Game in Cambodia 2023”.

Moreover, Cambodia still continues to regard the sport sector as a one of the priority options in restoring socio-economic development.  Practically, this vision makes the sport activities, especially the skilled sport and high level sports more improved all over the country, in which the National Sport Federation has increased to 40 consisting of 22 Olympic Federation and 18 Non-Olympic Federation.  At the same time, I would also like to express appreciation and encouragement to a number of national sport federations that have been putting effort in building their own good training ground such as the football federation, swimming federation, horse riding federation, tennis federation, Taekwondo federation, badminton and other physical sports.  In this spirit, we hope that in the future we will be able to organize big sport events that is a good action in upgrading national honor and prestige to increase the people-to-people linkage, continue accelerating the national socio-economic development, especially promoting the concept of“culture of peace”, and participating in the campaign of“Cambodia: Kingdom of Wonder”,given the fact that the national and international sport event is a tourism product that generates incomes for the people and nation through commercial information campaign, the spending of the sport delegates, sponsors, and supporters in injecting money into the current of the national economy, which is significantly contributing to poverty reduction, upgrade the people’s livelihood, create jobs, improve the living condition of the sport people and other stakeholders.

Although we have succeeded in constructing the new Headquarter of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia and have made this building become another historical symbol of the Cambodia Olympic Movement, I would like to further add that it is good to have the good workplace, good physical infrastructure, but what is important is the working efficiency that the related ministries-institutions and skilled sportsmen and sportswomen to pay attention and implement as follows:

First: Education and sport are the principles to seek welfare, friendship and solidarity.  In this sense, the integration of the physical education and sport in various education institutions from kindergarten to higher education is a necessity to inspire the spirit of playing sports among the students and people.  Through this, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport have to monitor a number of sport playgrounds in the Olympic Stadium, education institutions and in the provinces/cities that have not been renovated and repaired in order to seek ways for restoring and repairing appropriately for the interest of serving the training of our sport people in contributing to the upcoming national and international SEA Game 2023.  For now, it is to move to win more medals in the 27th SEA Game to be held from 11-22 December 2013 in Myanmar in order to continue upgrading the honor and prestige of our nation.  Along with that, I would like to boost and encourage the private sector, companies to build sport playgrounds for contributing to the promotion of mass sport sector, our national sport, and the welfare of our people.  Besides, the ministries-institutions, private companies, and each enterprise must select at least one type of sport according to the concept of “one institution, one sport”.

Second: professional sports and highly professional sports are the objective to seek the supremacy at the national and international level based on the orientation of the Olympic Sport policy, the respect of the Olympic Charter and Principle of the fair Game that have been implemented by the skilled people at the national sport federation under the support of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.  In general, the three important structure of sport are the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, Cambodia Olympic Committee, and National Sport Federation should implement their work through partnership cooperation that cannot be absent by respecting the spirit of sport and promote the sport sector toward a common goal which is to seek the supremacy a the national and international arena.  The preparation of the national sport policy must be clearly focused on the vision, objective, and mission between the education and sport, and skilled sports and high level sports, especially the strengthening of capacity and quality of the leadership and management that must be conforming to the universal trend of a sustainable sport development with responsibility, and must prepare a sport policy based on the concept of “noble sport and green sport”.

This concept of “noble sport and green sport” means that all sport activities such as the event of sport competition must respect the regulation against the use of Doba substance (energy substance) by following a fair-play principle, and avoid the conflict of interest in the sport sector, and all sport activities must be attached to the protection of the environment.  At this point, I would like to express appreciation to all Cambodian sportsmen and sportswomen that although they have limited capacity in all regional and international sport events, they have been well assessed by the Host Country that all Cambodian sportsmen and sportswomen abide by the principle of fair play, respecting the rule of the sport game, and ethics.

In fact, the implementation of these principles will contribute to the development of our Cambodian sport sector, especially upgrading our Cambodian image when we are hosting the SEA Game that will be held in 2023.  Related to this event, we still have 10 years to prepare, which is not so much long time, but not so short too because usually such big event preparation requires at least 8 years.  Therefore, I would like to request all stakeholders to start preparing their qualification comprehensively in order to ensure the success of this program.  As for this preparation, I believe that we should start preparing a master plan, in which we have to focus on the management and reform of the structure in order to orientate the direction of sport administration and sport technology more appropriately based on the international sport standard.  Along with that, the improvement and building of additional sport structure is the necessary measure to develop the sport sector, and prepare for the national and international sport competition.  The Human resource in sport sector is the skilled human resources that need to be well trained including the technical officials, arbitrator, judges, trainers, and sportsmen and sportswomen must have good quality of skill with local and international training in order to achieve the peak of sport game.  The significant factor is to continue selecting young sportsmen and sportswomen who are more skillful starting from the ages of 8-10 years old to be further trained in the country or oversea from now on.

Once again, I would like to highly value the management, officials, and all stakeholders of the inter-agencies committee, including the Ministry of Economy and Finance, National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, Phnom Penh City Hall, and all local authorities, OCIC Company that have cooperated in building this “New Headquarter of National Olympic Committee of Cambodia” successfully, which is another achievement for us now and our children in the future.

Before ending, I would like to take this opportunity to complement all our compatriots, teachers and students, in the near future Cambodia will organize a universal election to be held on 28 July 2013 with the principle of strengthening democracy and respect of human rights of all Cambodian people and ensure that the election will be free, fair, peaceful with public safety and social and political stability during the election campaign and during the election day, and I would like to request all our compatriots, teachers and students to go to vote and maintain dignity and solidarity of our national fold.

At the end, along with the official inauguration of the “New Headquarter of National Olympic Committee of Cambodia” now, I would like to wish Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, all compatriots the four gems of Buddhist blessing: Longevity, Nobility, Health, and Strength./.