Southeast Asia is gearing up for 2023 SEA Games


Cambodia is preparing for the 2023 Southeast Asian Games, which will take place from May 5 to 17. The event in 2023 will be the 32nd in the games series. It will be held in Phnom Penh for the first time, marking the first time Cambodia has hosted the event. Over 7,000 participants from all 11 Southeast Asian countries are expected, and over 40 games will be played during the event.

A significant amount of effort is required to meet the event’s standards. However, Thailand is assisting in the preparations to help the new host meet the demands. Thailand has a long history with the Southeast Asian Games after hosting the inaugural SEA Games in 1959.

A brief history of the SEA Games

Since its inception in 1959, the SEA Games (SEAG) have been held twice yearly. Vietnam is the most recent host after holding the event in 2022. All current Southeast Asian states, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam, will participate in this year’s games.

Many countries are permitted to host the games, but some have hesitated to take advantage of the opportunity, primarily due to the politics surrounding the event. The games are governed by the Southeast Asian Games Federation, with assistance from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).

Other subregional games organized by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) include the Central Asian Games, the West Asian Games, the East Asian Youth Games, and the South Asian Games. The Southeast Asian Games is one of the most prestigious games in this league.

The Cambodian edition

Cambodia has agreed to host the event and is expected to up the ante. The country launched a 100-day countdown toward the end of 2022, signaling the start of preparations for the upcoming event. The country has taken a number of steps to ensure the event’s success. It has concentrated its efforts on providing the facilities that spectators and athletes will require, the most notable of which is the construction of a superhighway connecting Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.

The expressway will facilitate movement from one gaming venue to another, providing attendees with a one-of-a-kind experience. Athletes and spectators will be able to easily attend the desired events on the construction, which is scheduled to be completed in March 2023.

Cambodia has also built a new sports complex in Russey Keo, a Phnom Penh neighborhood. The new complex, known as the Morodok Techo National Sports Complex, will help host most tournaments during the event. According to an expert analysis from, the integrated structure cost Cambodia $168 million. It is ideal for the 2023 SEA Games because it can accommodate 60,000-75,000 people at a time.

The Cambodian team will be one of many competing in the Southeast Asian Games. According to Vath Chamroeun, secretary-general of the organizing committee, the participating teams will play multiple games. Basketball, soft tennis, volleyball, kickboxing, athletics, canoe and rowing, dance sports, chess, fencing, petanque, martial arts, football, and Muay Thai are among the main games scheduled for the event.

Cooperation with other Southeast Asian countries

Cambodia is working hard to learn from its predecessors the tricks and tips needed to successfully organize the event. Fortunately, Cambodia has good relations with Vietnam and Thailand, and they are making significant contributions to the event’s success. Chea Kimtha, the newly appointed Cambodian Ambassador to Vietnam, stated at a recent event that Cambodia is learning from Vietnam and working to strengthen bilateral ties.

In addition, Thailand has already provided significant assistance to Cambodia in preparation for the SEA Games. Officials from the Cambodian Swimming Federation are considering collaborating with the Thailand Swimming Association to improve aquatic sports in Cambodia and prepare for the SEA Games.

Cambodia has asked Thailand to provide expert coaches to assist in the design of training programs for their divers, swimmers, and water polo players. According to Charoen Nopsuwan, the association’s secretary-general, the partnership is in its early stages but is expected to progress for the benefit of both countries. 

Final thoughts

The 32nd Southeast Asian Games, which will be held in Cambodia, are expected to draw a large number of participants and spectators. Attendees expect Cambodia to provide cutting-edge facilities and experiences despite being a first-time host. Fortunately, Cambodia is being guided by reputable organizations, and concerned neighbors are eager to assist with its preparations. Already, the country has achieved significant infrastructure and partnership milestones, and it is expected to meet or exceed expectations.

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