Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday took the wraps off the final design for the new national stadium – due to serve as the centrepiece of the 2023 Cambodia SEA Games – a reality a government official said was made possible with a $100 million donation from the Chinese government.
Hun Sen, speaking at the Peace Palace, also announced a near doubling of the wages of national athletes, coaches and administrators.
During a state visit by Hun Sen to Beijing in May last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping promised to fund the construction of the main stadium of the new multi-purpose sports complex on the outskirts of Phnom Penh in Prek Phnov, National Olympic Committee Secretary-General Vath Chamroeun told the Post.
The first phase of the project, which broke ground in 2013, is 60 per cent complete and is set to be finished next year.
The 60,000-seat main stadium, which is estimated to cost about $100 million and will be built by a Chinese construction firm, will be completed in the next four to five years with a Chinese grant covering the entire project, Chamroeun said.
Late last year, a technical team from China came to the Kingdom to put together plans for the main stadium, coming up with two designs. A Cambodian architect submitted a design and a Thai architect submitted two. A committee whittled the five plans down to two for the premier’s consideration, according to Chamrouen.
In choosing the winning design, Hun Sen noted its resemblance to a traditional Chinese ship, saying he considered it a symbol of Cambodia’s friendship with the emerging global power, Chamrouen said, adding that safety elements such as wide concourses to ease crowd congestion were also taken into account.
A multipurpose arena, the Prek Phnov Stadium will house an Olympic swimming pool, an outdoor football pitch, a running track, tennis courts and dormitories for athletes.
While wishing the Kingdom’s medal hopefuls success as the Cambodian contingent prepares for the SEA Games in Singapore beginning on June 5, Hun Sen also announced attended by top sports administrators and team members, that the salaries and monthly food allowance of all national coaches and athletes would be increased by nearly 50 per cent with immediate effect, as well as a cent-per-cent increase in the pay of the civil administrative staff at the national training centre.
The increase will benefit as many as 300 national athletes and coaches, making it one of the biggest such hikes in the Kingdom’s sports sphere for a long time.
“Better pay leads to better living conditions and better training, and eventually to better results. These highly desirable increases will no doubt motivate our athletes and coaches to perform at their best, and the NOCC is so thankful to the prime minister for this grand gesture,” Chamroeun said yesterday.
“More importantly, these increases will bring Cambodian coaches and athletes on par with some of the other countries in the region,” he said.