A $10,000 cash reward will be given to the first Cambodian to win a gold medal at the Olympics if a new sub-decree drafted by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports is approved.
The draft sub-decree stipulates that cash awards will be given to competitors who win medals at international events, and is intended to encourage Cambodian spoxrtsmen and women to do better, said Bun Sok, secretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.
If approved, winners of gold, silver or bronze medals at international events would receive $10,000, $7,000 and $5,000 respectively, he said Sunday.
At a tournament involving competitors from all over Asia, Cambodians who win either first, second or third place medals will receive $5,000, $3,000 or $1,000. Winners at regional Asean tournaments would get between $3,000 and $1,000 depending on the type of medal won.
The draft sub-decree on sports awards has been sent to the Council of Ministers for review and approval, Bun Sok said.
“Prime Minister Hun Sen is supportive of the idea and urged us to draft this sub-decree,” he added.
Cambodia had four representatives in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens with none advancing past their first heat.
The nation’s best performance in the Asian Games came in 1970 in Bangkok when it won two silvers and three bronzes, according to the Asian Games Web site.
Offering money to athletes who win medals is not a bad idea, but it will not in itself help Cambodia to compete at international events, said Nivit Tep, treasurer general of the Tennis Federation of Cambodia.
“Sport is expensive and, to really compete, money has to be put into it,” he said.
“We must improve our level bit by bit. To do this, we must improve our training infrastructure and help train the junior levels,” Nivit Tep said.
Though there is little chance of success in the Olympics in the near future, regional competitions such as the biannual Southeast Asia games offered a more realistic chance for Cambodian glory, Nivit Tep added.