The Cambodian Federation of Boules and Petanque team won 18 medals at the SEA Games in Thailand last December but has yet to receive the prize money the government promised for the wins, officials said.
According to federation coach Sok Mong, his athletes are owed about $120,000 for their 18 medals, two of which are gold.
“We knew that the documents have been completed and sent to the Ministry of Economy five months ago, but it’s nearly half a year now,” he said of the promised prize money for the team.
Keo Leng, 45, won a silver medal at the SEA Games, but said Wednesday that she hasn’t received a penny of the $4,000 promised her by the government.
“We have waited for five months now since the Sea Games took place in Thailand,” she said.
A March subdecree now awards a gold medal win with $6,000, a silver win with $4,000 and a bronze with $2,000, according to Bun Sok, secretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.
The new award amounts, which double the old amounts, apply to the Olympic Games, the SEA Games and the Asean Games. While the December SEA Games occurred prior to the passing of the subdecree, the new award amounts still apply, he added.
Bun Sok said that the athletes will get their prize money and that the holdup was probably because of paperwork being processed.
“We are waiting for the decision from the Council of Ministers right now,” he said.
Prak Sokhon, Council of Ministers secretary of state, declined to comment Wednesday.
Cheam Yeap, CPP lawmaker and Chairman of the National Assembly’s economic and finance commission, agreed Wednesday that the delay was likely bureaucratic, and said that he would urge the paperwork along.
“The government must encourage the winners because they have won medals for the whole nation. I will ask the Ministry of Economy and Finance why the prizes are so late,” he said.
Some Chen, the petanque federation’s deputy president, said that 31-year-old Em Pisith was badly injured in a motorbike accident Monday and could use the money she is owed for the bronze medal she won at the SEA games to help pay her medical expenses.
“I gave her [$5] and called for help,” he said.