Prime Minister Hun Sen, accompanied by his wife, Bun Rany, officially opened the 2nd National Games at a packed Olympic Stadium on Friday evening as pomp and pageantry marked the near three-hour opening ceremony that climaxed with a spectacular firework display lighting up the Phnom Penh skyline King Norodom Sihamoni lit the Games torch at a beautifully illuminated Royal Palace, and it was carried in relay to the venue by a host of well-known athletes including footballers Chan Vathanaka and Prak Mony Odoum, as the country’s most decorated taekwondo star Sorn Seavmey added glitz and glamour to the occasion.
One of the evening’s most memorable moments for the huge crowd was the prime minister setting off fire arrows to light the Games Cauldron.
The feature of the first session of the show was a rendition of National Games song Achariyeak Keyla Cheat (The Wonder of National Sport) followed by a bokator demonstration by military personnel.
The march past by the 28 participating teams, including squads from Ministry of Interior, Ministry of National Defence and Ministry of Economy, was one of the major sights of the evening.
Addressing the gathering, Minister of Tourism and President of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia Thong Khon said the successful organisation of the National Games was vital in pursuing the country’s master plan for hosting the 2023 SEA Games.
“I am impressed by the turnout and the enthusiasm shown by this massive crowd. I hope the people of Cambodia will take pride in the success of our athletes,’’ he said.
Army golden in tennis
As of Sunday morning, Phnom Penh, as expected, led the medal tally with 10 golds, nine silvers and five bronzes. Ministry of Interior (7-7-6), Takeo (6-2-3), Ministry of National Defense (5-1-3) and Kandal (3-6-9) occupied the next four places.
In the final of the men’s tennis team event, Ministry of National Defense defeated Phnom Penh 2-0.
In the first singles match, Army’s Leng Sarinreach beat Khleang Ponlok 6-0, 2-6, 6-0, while Long Samneang got the measure of fellow Davis Cupper Phalkun Mam 7-5, 6-2.
In the bronze medal playoff, Kep defeated Kandal 2-0.
Representing Koh Kong, Ho Sreynoch took the women’s singles title, beating Chhieu Apsara of Phnom Penh 6-1, 6-0 in the final.
The bronze medal contest produced history for Siem Reap as Nyem Srey Noch bagged the first ever medal for the province in women’s tennis, beating Sona Thonita of Kandal 7-6, 0-6, 6-2.
Siem Reap romped to a 40-point blowout of Kampot 91-51 in men’s basketball at the National Training Centre at Olympic Stadium.