MANILA (The Phnom Penh Post/Asia News Network): The SEA Games and Asean Para Games torch was proudly relayed through Tagaytay City in the Philippines on Monday (March 27), following a similar March 24 procession in the streets of the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.
The torch is making its way through the 10 nations that will attend the 32nd SEA Games and 12th Asean Para Games, which the kingdom will host for the historic first time.
The torch run in Tagaytay City was solemn, and attended by sporting leaders, diplomats and well-known athletes of the Philippines.
Cambodian ambassador to the Philippines Phan Peuv was also present at the event.
“Today’s event reflected the close relationship between the people of Cambodia and the Philippines. It is a symbol of our commitment to the prosperity of Asean. I hope that the people of the Philippines will have a fantastic time in Cambodia during the games,” he said.
In the presence of Hor Sarun – secretary of state at the Ministry of Tourism and special envoy of the Cambodian SEA Games and Asean Para Games organising committees – the torch run went smoothly.
Abraham Tolentino, president of the National Olympic Committee of the Philippines and other Asean ambassadors, as well as several other distinguished guests, took part.
“Today’s torch run was organised very well. This was a meaningful event for the peoples of the Philippines and Cambodia,” said Tolentino.
“We offer our full support to Cambodia as hosts and wish them every success. We are preparing to dispatch a team of 840 athletes to the games,” he added.
The torch began its journey in the hands of Sarun, who handed it to Peuv, before it was passed to Tolentino and then Michael Barredo, founding president of the Paralympic Committee of the Philippines.
Later, the torch was handed to Filipino elite athletes from the kickboxing, boxing, taekwondo, jiu-jitsu, cycling and football teams, closing with female football superstar Hali Long.
King Norodom Sihamoni lit the SEA Games torch at Angkor Wat Temple on the morning of March 21 – the morning of the Angkor Wat equinox – marking the kickoff of the relay.
“The Philippine ceremony was held in Tagaytay City, which is popular with tourists, to show the close link between sports and tourism. Sports support tourism, while tourism supports sports. Sports promote tourism, while tourism promotes sports,” he said.
Following the Philippine event, the torch will tour Brunei, Timor-Leste, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar and Laos until April 25.
The torch will arrive in Stung Treng province on April 27, where it will be relayed around the Tonle Sap Lake. It will arrive at the Morodok Techo National Stadium to formally start the 32nd SEA Games opening ceremony on May 5.