Olympians Headed to Sydney

The National Olympic Com­mittee of Cambodia will send six athletes and two officials to the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games in Australia in September, an official said Wednesday.

Meas Sarin, secretary-general of the committee, said so far the national swim team and track team will send one man and one woman each. Cambodia has two more slots to fill, but the events have not been decided.

The choices, though, would be between judo, tae kwan do, gymnastics and shooting, Meas Sarin said.

“We do not know these yet,” he said, noting that the sports would be chosen by the Inter­national Olympic Commit­tee, the International Federation, and the Sydney Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games.

The athletes will be traveling to Sydney with the help of a grant, which will reimburse the national committee the roughly $20,000 cost of the trip, Meas Sarin said.

“We are supported by the IOC,” Meas Sarin said.

The money would go toward airfare, accommodation, some training and some “pocket money” for the athletes, he said.

No athletes have been individually named, but he said he expects names to come from the swimming and track and field coaches next week.

Meas Sarin said they would not have to qualify because the International Olympic Com­mittee automatically accepts two athletes per country from three areas of sport. “Anyone else should qualify,” he said.

In 1996, Cambodia took five athletes to Atlanta, in the US state of Georgia, with the same kind of assistance, and in some of the same sports. Some of the Olym­pians then had never com­peted outside the country before. The competitors in the Atlanta games were swimmers Hem Lumphat and Hem Raksmey, brother and sister and children of the national swim coach Hem Thom; runners To Rithya and Ouk Chanthan; and wrestler Vath Chamroeun.

Meas Sarin said he did not know if any of the athletes would be the same, and said he was unsure who the national coach for the swim team would be.



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