Cambodian Prime Minister closes 32nd SEA Games in Phnom Penh

The colours of the closing ceremony. © OCA
The colours of the closing ceremony. © OCA

Phnom Penh, Cambodia, May 17, 2023: The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Hun Sen, brought the curtain down on the 32nd Southeast Asian Games during the closing ceremony at Morodok Techo National Stadium in Phnom Penh on Wednesday. 

After the cauldron was extinguished and the SEA Games Federation flag passed from Cambodia to the next host country in 2025, Thailand, the Cambodian people and their guests joined as one in a Khmer cultural dance to signal the end of the SEA Games 2023 party.

The President of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, Dr. Thong Khon, said the 32nd SEA Games had created “lasting and meaningful memories” for the 8,725 athletes from 11 National Olympic Committees as well as the team delegates and Cambodian people.

“I would like to thank Cambodia for delivering an event we can all be extremely proud of,” said Dr. Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism.

“Over the last 12 days we witnessed courage, willpower, determination, sacrifice and sportsmanship amongst all athletes across all 579 events and disciplines.”

He had special words of praise for women’s 5,000 metre runner Bou Samnang, whose long and lonely finish in monsoon conditions captured the hearts of sports fans around the world. Samnang had shown the true Olympic spirit, said Dr. Thong Khon, and the 20-year-old athlete was cheered wildly as she took to the stage.

The volunteers had raised the biggest cheer earlier in the evening when they followed the athletes into the stadium for the closing parade, and Dr. Thong Khon described them as “the DNA of our sporting event”.

Deputy Prime Minister Tea Banh, Chairman of organising committee CAMSOC, said the “historic event” had been run “smoothly and successfully” and added that Cambodia’s achievement of winning 282 medals, with 81 gold, 74 silver and 127 bronze for a fourth-place finish, had been a “remarkable achievement” that had exceeded expectations.

Quah Ting Wen (Swimming) of Singapore and Pal Choraksmey (Vovinam) of host Cambodia were awarded as Best Athletes of the 32nd SEA Games. Quah won six gold and two silver medals, while Pal won four gold, one silver and one bronze.

The closing ceremony had opened with a moving song “See You Again” and a performance of the Khmer martial art of Kun Bokator featuring striking choreography.