‘Monumental achievement’ for CFC as cricket included in 2023 SEA Games

Jul 14, 2022

The Cricket Federation of Cambodia (CFC) achieved a historic milestone with the inclusion of cricket in the 2023 Southeast Asian Games.

Cricket, together with the Indonesian martial art Pencak Silat and Obstacle Race, was added to the list during the Southeast Asian Games Federation (SEAGF) Council meeting.

The latest SEAGF Council meeting was held from July 11 to 13 at the Sokha Hotel in Phnom Penh.

The host country’s Olympic committee makes the decision in consultation with other members of the SEAGF Council. At least five countries must also be willing to compete in such sport for it to make the list.

“A historic day for us. Eleven years of hard work by Cricket Federation of Cambodia paid off,” Manish Sharma, CEO of CFC, said in an interview yesterday. “A big thank you to all who helped us achieve this goal.”

“I was extremely happy about it. It will provide an opportunity for Cambodia to excel and show its competitiveness to achieve a medal,” CFC President Vath Chamroeun said. “The facilities we have here will certainly help develop the game in Cambodia for many years to come.”

“I want to thank (Mahinda) Vallipuram for their continuing support and (Manish Sharma) for the work he has done for Cricket development in Cambodia, to such stage where Cambodia has a good chance of winning a medal in 2023,” the CFC President added.

The CFC (previously known as Cricket Association of Cambodia) was established in 2011. The organisation, which is already a member of ACC, is seeking to join ICC.

The CFC strongly lobbied for the inclusion of Cricket in the next SEA Games, with the backing of Asian Cricket Council (ACC) and International Cricket Council (ICC).

ACC Development Chairman/Executive Board Member Mahinda Vallipuram was in Cambodia recently to look into the existing Cricket facilities and to lobby for Cricket’s inclusion in the biggest sports event in the region.

“This would give the cricketing countries in Southeast Asia an opportunity to compete in multi-sport games and provide much needed exposure and competition,” Vallipuram said, noting that the Cricket federations in Cambodia and other countries played an important role in its inclusion.

“These countries would certainly be able to compete for medals, and the SEA Games would also serve as part of the preparations for the Asian Games scheduled for September 2023,” he added. “They would also potentially improve on their global rankings with more competitions, be it multi-sport, ICC or ACC events.”

Vallipuram said the ACC would assist in providing technical support to the CFC ahead of the next SEA Games.

Aminul Islam, ICC Development Manager (Asia); Singapore Cricket Association (SCA) CEO Saad Khan Janjua; and SCA President Mahmood Gaznavi also visited Cambodia recently for the same reasons.

“This was a great achievement for Southeast Asia. I expect all countries involved to grow further in strength,” Islam said.

As a person who knows development very well, Islam was pleased to see cricket back in the SEA Games “I hope this will lead to the Asian Games,” he stressed.

The inclusion of the sport was also backed by the Cricket associations/federations of Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.

“The plan is to also have Cricket in the next three SEA Games in Thailand (2025), Malaysia (2027) and Singapore (2029),” said Dato Seri Chaiyapak Siriwat, Vice President of Olympic Committee of Asia (OCA) and National Olympic Committee of Thailand (NOCT). “From there, Cricket will become a regular part of the SEA Games.”

This will be the second time for Cricket to be included in the SEA Games, following its maiden inclusion in Malaysia five years ago.

Singapore topped the T20 (men’s), while Malaysia won the 50 over (men’s). Thailand, meanwhile, bagged the T20 (women’s) crown in the 2017 Malaysia SEA Games.

In addition to Cricket, Obstacle Race and Pencak Silat, the SEAGF Council-confirmed list also includes Athletics; Aquatics (Swimming, Diving and Water Polo); Badminton; Basketball (5×5 and 3×3); Boxing; Billiards and Snooker; Cycling (Road Race and MTB); Traditional Boat Race; Chess (Ok Chaktrong and Xiangxi); Dance Sports; Finswimming; Fencing; and Football.

Also on the list are Floorball; Golf; Gymnastics (Aerobic and Artistic); Hockey (Field and Indoor); Judo; Karate; Kun Khmer; Petanque; Sailing; Sepaktakraw; Soft Tennis; Lawn Tennis; Table Tennis; Taekwondo WT; Endurance Race (Triathlon, Aquathlon and Duathlon); Volleyball (Indoor and Beach); Wrestling; Weightlifting; Wushu; Bodybuilding; E-sports; Jetski; and Martial Arts (Arnis, Jiujitsu, Kickboxing, Kun Bokator, Martial Arts Korea: ITF Rules and Vovinam).

Teqball was included as a Demo Sport.

Five sports are still under consideration, including Archery, Chess (International), Gymnastics (Rhythmic), Kurash and Shooting.

The list of events for the confirmed sports are expected to be announced by August 2022.

Cricket in the 2023 Cambodia SEA Games will feature the T10 and T20 disciplines (men’s and women’s), according to Sharma. The matches are going to be played at the Morodok Techo National Complex.

The Cambodia SEA Games is going to be held from May 5 to 16, 2023.

Jose Rodriguez T. Senase / Khmer Times