Prime Minister Hun Sen addressed members of the Kingdom’s sports teams and reminded them to adhere to the national spirit of dignity and honour. He called on them to avoid using banned substances, and reminded them they should also respect the conditions and regulations of any competitions they join.
During an April 28 meeting at Koh Pich Convention and Exhibition Centre with the delegates who will participate in the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi, Hun Sen said: “All athletes of the national teams must avoid the use of performance-enhancing substances that are banned in sports because this will cause a loss of dignity to the nation.
“You must all understand that when you participate in this event, you are holding the Kingdom’s flag in your hands. You must remember that … the weight of 17 million Cambodians is upon you. Dignity and honor are very important to our nation, so performance-enhancing drugs are strictly banned.
“During the games you may make mistakes unintentionally, but the use of drugs to cheat is always intentional. If there is a breach of this ban, it will be a tragedy for the image of the Kingdom. This cannot be allowed to happen. It doesn’t matter how many gold or silver medals you win – if you cheat to get onto the podium, you devalue your sport and detract from the image of Cambodia,” he said.
The premier added: “I suggest that you pay the utmost attention to the rules of each of your sports. Breaches of the regulations – whether through performance-enhancing drugs or other means – must not happen. All athletes must be disciplined and follow the rules and regulations of their event.”
Hun Sen also implored members of sporting hierarchies and national teams to observe the running of the games closely, in order to gain experience ahead of Cambodia’s historic first-time hosting of the 32nd SEA Games. Cambodia will be sending the country’s largest delegation yet to Hanoi, so there would be plenty of opportunity to study how international events are conducted.
“During the Hanoi games, we hope our sporting leaders – as well as our athletes – will experiment and learn there, in order to improve our hosting. Of course, we have carefully studied the management of such an event, but anything we can learn that will help us improve our guests’ experience will be to our advantage. We want our games to be as good as anyone else’s. Of course, if we can improve on the other hosts, so much the better.”
According to a report by Minister of Tourism Thorng Khon, who is also president of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, the Vietnamese have organised competitions in 40 sports with 526 disciplines. The participating countries are Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar and East Timor, with a total of 7,115 athletes and 3,000 volunteers. Cambodia will participate in 33 sports, with a total of 560 sports delegates.