Cambodian athletes who took home medals from the Southeast Asian Games in December have yet to receive their share of more than $200,000 in government promised reward money, but officials said yesterday the funds will be distributed before the upcoming Chinese New Year.
Bun Sok, secretary of state for the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, said that Finance Minister Keat Chon had recently signed off on the disbursement of financial awards for the medalists, which is stipulated in a 2006 sub-decree.
“Now we have the approval,” Mr Sok said, adding that he did not know exactly when Mr Chon had approved the payout, or when the prize money will be actually handed over to the athletes.
According to Vath Chamroeun, secretary-general of the National Olympic Committee, medalists should receive their prizes before the Chinese New Year, which begins on Feb 14. Mr Chamroeun said the NOC’s chairman, Tourism Minister Thong Khon, has urged the Ministry of Education to accelerate the disbursement process.
Medalists are expected to get $6,000 for gold medals, $4,000 for silver and $2,000 for bronze, according to Mr Chamroeun, who said the NOC will also pay for a celebration for the award handover.
Local athletes and coaches brought home a total of 40 medals -three gold, 10 silver and 27 bronze -from last year’s SEA games, the most ever won by Cambodia at the regional event, according to sports officials.
Medal winners reached yesterday were anxious to receive the promised cash.
Marathon runner and bronze medalist Hem Bunting said he has not been told when he will be paid.
“I am looking forward to receiving the award,” he said.