4 Cambodians To Compete in Beijing Olympics

Four athletes will represent Cambodia at the Beijing Olympics, officials confirmed Sunday.

Tourism Minister and National Olympic Committee President Thong Khon said Cambodia was among the smaller countries given a special dispensation to send four athletes to compete, even if they did not meet qualifications. “We do not hope to win medals, we just want to take part in the event,” he said.

Thong Khon said a delegation of 15 people, including two swimmers and two track and field athletes, would attend. The Cam­bo­dian sportsmen and wo­men have not yet been chosen, he added.

Four coaches, one doctor and six officials will accompany the Cam­bodian contingent, according to NOC Secretary-General Meas Sar­in, who said that he would be attending along with Thong Khon.

“Some may wonder why there are more officials than sportsmen, but we will be there to encourage and cheer them during the competition,” he said.

The allowance for the two top officials to attend would total $8,000, which would be paid for by the National Olympic Committee, Thong Khon said, adding that all other costs incurred by the country’s athletes and officials would be paid for by the International Olym­pic Committee.

He reiterated that he did not believe it was possible for Cam­bodia, which has never won a medal at the Olympics, to do so this time.

“We are going in order to show the world that we have joined in this international competition,” he said.

None of the four Cambodian competitors in the 2004 games in Athens, Greece, advanced beyond their respective initial heats.

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