From the 5th of May until the 17th, Cambodia is hosting Southeast Asian Games 2023 in the capital city, Phnom Penh, the infamous World Heritage Site Angkor Wat, as well as other cities such as Kampot, Kep, Siem, Reap and Sihanoukville. It will be the 32nd edition of the Southeast Asian Games, also referred to as SEA Games, a biennial multi-sport event. Cambodia is one of the founding members of the SEA Games, along with Thailand, Laos, South Vietnam, Myanmar and Malaya (at the time Burma and Malaya respectively). Held in Bangkok in 1959, the first edition saw the participation of these 6 nations only, and of around 550 athletes. More than 50 years later, the SEA Games are hosted in Cambodia for the first time, and comprise of over 10,000 athletes, 581 events and 11 nations competing (all members of the Southeast Asian Games Federation) (SEA Games Federation, 2023).
(Image from International Football Federation)
Southeast Asian Games 2023 includes a variety of sports from football and aquatics to cycling, martial arts and even chess. There is also the opportunity for audiences to discover new sports like teqball, a demonstration sport often described as table football and which is not yet included in the Olympics (Cambodia 2023 website).
Tickets to all events of Southeast Asian Games 2023 are free. Whereas hosts previously charged delegates of the participating countries around $50 a day per person for food and accommodation, Cambodia is also fully covering the costs. Vath Chamroeun, secretary-general of the Cambodia SEA Games Organizing Committee (CAMSOC) has explained that this decision was made to strengthen friendships between Southeast Asian countries (Heak Chhork, 2023).
The SEA Games were preceded by a torch run started on March 21st in Angkor Wat. The run began on the date of the equinox, a rare sunrise where the sun aligns with the central spire of Angkar Wat. The torch then travelled through all 11 competing countries of Southeast Asian Games 2023 and returns to Cambodia on May 5th for the opening ceremony of the event (Cambodia 2023 website, 2023). Southeast Asian Games 2023 will be broadcast on CSTV in Cambodia and can be watched via TV Pool 3HD, 5HD, 7HD, MCOT HD, NBT2HD, GMM25, PPTV HD and T Sports in Thailand. RCTI Sports, from Indonesia, is also holding a live broadcast of the opening ceremony of the SEA Games on May 5th on its official YouTube channel (Olympics, 2023).