The Phnom Penh Olympic Stadium

Phnom Penh Olympic Stadium

Phnom Penh might have a brand spanking new stadium, with the $1.1 billion Morodok Techo National Stadium (Khmer: កីឡដ្ឋានជាតិមរតកតេជោ), a gift from China. Before that though there was the Phnom Penh Olympic Stadium, which is making a comeback at the 2023 SEA Games.

To read the SEA Games schedule click here

The Phnom Penh Olympic Stadium

Now to the astute reader you will realize the elephant in the room here, Cambodia while now hosting the 2023 SEA Games has never actually hosted an Olympics, so hy the heck does it have an olympic stadium? Usually a prerequisite for naming a stadium as such.

Quite simply while the country has not hosted an olympic games, the 1960’s were a time of great hope in the county, both generally and sportingly. This led to many infrastructure projects, such as the National Sports Complex started in 1963 and completed in 1964.

Originally it was to host the  1963 Southeast Asian Peninsular Games, the SEA Games of its day. Sadly these were politically insecure times and the games were cancelled. Sill ten years away from the brutal horror of the Khmer Rouge, perhaps the dream was to one day host an olympic games in Cambodia, but things were instead to take a turn for the strange and eventually the tragic.

The Olympics of the Left

Cambodia and the Olympic stadium were though to see some olmpiceque action when the cold war saw the formation of the rival Games of the New Emerging Forces (GANEFO) set up be Indonesia as a counterweight to the bourgeois olympic games.

Officially at least it was for emerging nations, but unreality was those that leant towards the left, which of course included the Kingdom of Cambodia.

To read about the friendship between Sihanouk and Kim Il-Sung click here

This article is adapted from BPVE SPORT Cambodia, reported and edited from the great team – Cambodia Sports Review.


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