700 Would-Be Paralympians To Vie for Nat’l Team Spots

About 700 disabled athletes will compete in a two-day athletic meet starting today at Olympic Stadium, according to event organizers.

The athletes are competing for cash prizes, trophies and spots on the Cambodian Paralympic team, which will represent the nation at the Sydney Paralympics 2000.

“You will see another kind of disabled people. They will show that they can be an asset, not a burden to society,” said Carmen Reyes-Zubiaga, acting executive director of the National Center of Disabled Persons, which is the coordinating agency for the competition.

She said the best athletes will be selected for further training. However, funding and a lack of trainers must be overcome if the team is to compete against other countries.

“We need equipment, facilities and to raise money for participants,” Reyes-Zubiaga said.

The meet is part of National Handicap Sports Day and is being organized by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Labor and Vet­eran Affairs. During the opening ceremony at 7:30 am, the Na­tional Para­lym­pic Committee will be launched, according to a press release.

Activities for children and disabled under the age of 16 are also planned.

Second Prime Minister Hun Sen will speak at the closing ceremony at 5:30 pm Thursday, Reyes-Zubiaga said.

The National Handicapped Sports Fund was established to raise money for the event. Inter­ested donors can go to the NCDP at No 3 Norodom Blvd for more details.

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