Torch Ceremony Celebrates 14th Asian Games

After lighting the silver torch from a glass-cased candle, an Ap­sara dancer handed the torch to a jogger in a ceremony on Thurs­day to kick off the countdown to the annual Asian Games.

Thursday’s torch-lighting ceremony, held on a blocked-off No­ro­dom Boulevard just south of Wat Phnom, was part of region-wide festivities in anticipation of the 14th Asian Games, which this year is scheduled to open in Bu­san, South Korea, on Sept 29.

Seventeen Cambodians will participate in the games—a runner, two swimmers, two snooker players, six boxers and six Tae Kwon Do fighters, who will compete with athletes from 43 Asian countries, officials said.

Although authorities aren’t hold­ing out much hope for their athletes’ success, Cambodia might have a shot at the bronze in Tae Kwon Do, national coach Sok Ou said at the ceremony.

“Cambodian Tae Kwon Do fighters lack the food to support their body and compete with others. But if we get enough food, we will win the competition,” Sok Ou said.

The athletes will leave for Bu­san Sept 23, courtesy of South Korean corporations, officials said. (Addi­tion­al reporting by Bill My­ers)

But the games have a larger goal than the medals, South Korean Ambassador Won Hyung Lee said Thursday, after wishing the athletes good luck.

“The games go forward in peace. They can improve multilateral relations,” the ambassador said.

Athletic programs in Cambodia could do well with a little more money, National Olympic Committee Meas Sarin said.

“The committee still needs $15,000 to buy clothes for the athletes. We still don’t have clothes and souvenirs yet,” Meas Sarin said.

The delegation will leave Cam­bodia for Busan Sept 23, courtesy of South Korean corporations, officials said.

Pressed for odds on which group was most likely to succeed for Cambodia, Meas Sarin smiled and looked at the sky.

“Maybe Tae Kwon Do,” he said. “But I don’t know.”


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