As Cambodia continues its mission to see Kun Khmer included in the Olympic Games, the traditional martial art received a boost in support from the members of the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) at its annual general assembly. The meeting was held on Angkor soil in Siem Reap province, ahead of the recently concluded fourth World Kun Khmer Championship.

During the November 25 conference, chaired by KKIF head Meam Ra, a vote supported the establishment of a new executive committee, which will be made up of members of the Cambodian federation, and those from abroad. Seventeen member nations attended the event in person, with more than 40 participating online.

The meeting participants agreed to introduce a six-point principle to expand the scope of Kun Khmer on the international stage. The KKIF intends to seek the recognition of the Asia Games, before seeking a place at the highest level of international sports – the Olympic Games.

The first principle agreed to was to maintain the sustainability of the World Kun Khmer Championship, by ensuring that it is held every year.

It also agreed to tighten the mechanisms that will allow it to lead the current 60 member nations. The federation aims to increase that figure to 75 within the next five years, as 75 is the minimum required to earn the recognition of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Third, the KKIF called on the public to support Kun Khmer’s inclusion in the Olympic Games.

As part of its plan, the fourth principle was to be prepared to accept new member countries at any time.

Fifth, the participants agreed to hold the fifth world championship in Cambodia next year, before passing hosting duties to one of the other member nations in 2025.

Finally, the KKIF committed to ensuring fair play and a clean sport, by abiding by international anti-doping rules.

Vath Chamroeun, secretary-general of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC), announced that the fifth championship will be held on December 5-7 next year.

“We aim to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the tournament in a joyful manner. We invite all of our members to Siem Reap province to take part in the competition, as well as training programmes and a workshop which will enable our members to develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of Kun Khmer,” he said.

“They will help us to promote the sport on the world stage and support our dream of including Kun Khmer in the 2032 Olympic Games in Australia,” he added.

The federation invited all of its member countries to bid for hosting rights for the 2025 championship.

“Big countries like Russia and Japan have expressed an interest. Even though they did not take part in this year’s competition, China is also interested in hosting,” said Chamroeun.

This year’s World Kun Khmer Championship saw fighters from 17 countries take part, with hosts Cambodia claiming the most medals. The Kingdom’s boxers collected 14 gold, eight silvers and one bronze.

They were followed by the Indian Kun Khmer exponents, who earned three gold and three silver medals. The Iranian squad returned home with two gold, one silver and one bronze, the Philippines won one gold and three silvers, while Russia scored one gold and three silvers. The remaining silver and bronze medals were claimed by fighters from an assortment of countries.

The three-day competition, held at Preah Ang Chek Preah Ang Chorm Park in Siem Reap, attracted over 20,000 domestic and international fans. In addition, the event was broadcast live, drawing hundreds of thousands of viewers. 

“The competitors all practised fair play and their techniques all improved. Therefore, we consider the event a success, in terms of technique, preparations and support,” said Chamroeun.

“We promoted the tournament through the KKIF’s social media channels, in order to receive support from all 60 of our member nations around the world. All of them responded positively and shared their congratulations. We are determined to keep working to promote next year’s competition and ensure it is even bigger,” he added.