The Kingdom’s Paralympic delegation boarded a charter flight to Surakarta, Indonesia, to attend the 11th 2022 ASEAN Para Games. Fourteen members of the Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) also accompanied the delegation, intending to observe the running of the event ahead of their own hosting of next year’s 32nd SEA Games and 12th ASEAN Para Games in Cambodia.

During a send-off for the delegation at Phnom Penh International Airport, Prime Minister Hun Sen’s son Hun Many – president of the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia (UYFC) who was assigned by the premier to lead the Paralympic team – expressed his confidence in the athletes.

“Our athletes are happy, proud, and confident. Their high spirits are inspirational and I cannot wait to join them in Surakarta,” he said.

Many said the provision of the charter flights and third, fourth, and fifth booster dose vaccinations for the Paralympic athletes by Hun Sen, who is also chairman of the National Paralympic Committee of Cambodia (NPCC), was seen as a symbol of the premier’s confidence and trust in – and concern for the safety of – the athletes.

Many, who will fly on the evening of July 28, said: “[Hun Sen] pays great attention to disabled sports athletes, as chairman of the NPCC. He himself is also a disabled person, so he pays close attention to their wellbeing. He will be closely monitoring their progress, and he has done everything possible to ensure that they will be safe from the coronavirus as they represent the Kingdom.”

As leader of the delegation, Many promised to guarantee that he would do everything in his power to give the team the confidence they need to focus on their competitions.

“I will remain close to them, because they represent … Cambodia. What we want from our athletes is for them to do the best they can. The outcome of each athlete is now in their hands,” he said.

“The spirit that they have shown, the effort, the hard training and their pride in representing Cambodia at the 11th Para Games is exceptional. I offer them my support and confidence, and wish them all the best,” he added.

Cambodia has sent a total of 115 athletes to the 2022 ASEAN Para Games to participate in 11 sports including athletics, swimming, men’s and women’s wheelchair volleyball, men’s and women’s wheel chair basketball, disabled football, table tennis, badminton, weightlifting, chess and boccia.

The team will compete in a total of 133 disciplines, more than double the number contested in 2017, when Cambodia competed in just over 60 disciplines, claiming five silver and five bronze medals.

NPCC secretary-general Yi Veasna predicted a record haul at these games.

“Our athletes have a high level of commitment and have worked hard, and will not disappoint our people or their families. I expect we are going to break our old record and am predicting at least three gold medals, 10 silver, and 15 bronze,” he said.