Some 43 Cambodians will be joining nearly 3,000 artists and athletes competing in the Games of La Francophonie that open today in Canada. They represent 52 countries that share French heritage or culture.
This will be the second time that Cambodia takes part in the Games, held every four years. The first time was in France and the Cambodian delegation consisted of only six people, said Kim Henrie-Lafontaine, who was sent by Canadia to help Cambodia prepare for the Games.
Cambodians will compete in track and field, boxing, judo, ping-pong and in exhibition games of beach volleyball. The judo team includes two women, Heng Sothea and Chan Chean.
Works for the artistic competitions were selected by international committees of judges. Cambodia has sent 11 dancers from the Royal Ballet, one photographer and one sculptor.
The Cambodian delegation is headed by Princess Norodom Vacheahra, a parliamentarian who is vice president of the Cambodian section of the Francophone Assembly. “[Cambodia’s participation] will reinforce not only our friendship, but also our cultural and social ties,” with francophone countries, she said.
Canada is paying for transport, housing at the Games village and meals of the delegates. The Cambodian government is contributing $500 per person. The Games end July 24.