Kirth Chantharith, head of the General Department of Immigration and president of the Cambodia Table Tennis Federation (CTTF), has urged athletes to strive for medals at next year’s Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games), which will be hosted by Cambodia.
“After a long wait of 64 years, Prime Minister Hun Sen agreed to host the 23rd SEA Games in 2023,” he said.
“Athletes, coaches and all the leaders of the CTTF must do everything they can to make sure we obtain good results in both national and international tournaments. They should encourage and nurture them so they are especially focussed on winning at the SEA Games,” he urged.
Chantharith made the remarks as he attended the July 22 closing ceremony of the 2021 national table tennis tournament, which was participated by 59 athletes including nine women from 10 clubs and funded by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.
In a tough tournament, the athletes of the Ministry of Interior won three gold medals and two bronze, to be ranked the No1 club. Players from the Club LIXIN Group won one gold medal, one silver and two bronze. The Dynamic Table Tennis Club won one silver medal, with Borey GB Residence claiming two bronze.
Ping Pong Preah Noreay and the Pram Beal Construction Club each won one bronze, with the Sen Chey National Assembly Sports Club, the Autobus Club, the Central Park Sports Complex Club and the First Set Construction Club failing to win any medals.
Chantharith saw the tournament as an excellent way to measure the capabilities of the athletes and the officials ahead of the SEA Games.
“This tournament was organised to inspire the youth to improve their techniques and to measure the capacities of the players. Based on what we saw, I believe that our committee is more than capable of hosting next year’s international event,” he said.
He added that the CTTF had prepared strategies ahead of the games. It was encouraging more strenuous training at sporting establishments at all levels and was preparing to send athletes and coaches abroad for further training. Its referees were also being registered to participate in international-level contests, which would give them valuable experience.
“I ask all of the athletes who won medals in this tournament not to forget themselves. They must train harder to increase their skills and fitness levels. Those athletes who have yet to taste victory should train doubly hard in preparation for 2023,” he said.
Ouk Sithicheat, the education ministry’s directorate general of sports who also attended the ceremony, praised the federation for a well-run tournament.
“On behalf of education minister Hang Chuon Naron, I personally congratulate and praise the head of the CTTF and his executive committee for dedicating their time and physical and mental energy to nurturing Cambodian table tennis players, as we prepare to host the 32nd SEA Games 2023,” he said.