Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Monday that the country will host the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) for the first time in 2023.
"Upon the request of President of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia Thong Khon, I agreed to allow Cambodia to host the SEA Games in 2023," the premier publicly announced during a graduation ceremony of students at the National Institute of Education.
"It takes another 10 years for Cambodia to host the Games because, for the time-being, Cambodia needs capital to invest and serve the needs of people such as constructing roads, bridges, irrigation system, schools and hospitals," he said.
He said the big concern for hosting the SEA Games is not the sports facilities, but accommodation for about 7,000 athletes.
"As I know, Laos spent between 200 and 300 million US dollars to host this event (in 2009), so Cambodia needs time to host such event because it costs a lot of money," Hun Sen said. "We have no choice, we don't have money."
The original SEA Games began as the Peninsular Southeast Asia Games in 1959. It is a biennial multi-sport event involving participants from the ten ASEAN member states and Timor-Leste.
The last games were held in Indonesia in November 2011, and the next host will be Myanmar this year, while Singapore will be the host in 2015.