MANILA – Cambodia will be putting on a showcase as a first-time host of the Southeast Asian Games in 2023 with 39 sports already on its competition program.

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said Cambodia has shown its readiness to host next year’s Games during a SEA Games Federation meeting held over the weekend in Siem Reap, a resort town that’s the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Angkor Wat.

“Cambodia is ready to host and they promised an excellent edition of the Games,” Tolentino said in a news release on Monday.

Tolentino was joined in the meeting by POC Deputy Secretary General Bones Floro, triathlon head Tom Carrasco, volleyball chief and POC broadcast committee chair Ramon “Tats” Suzara, soft tennis Capt. Bob Moran and bowling legend Bong Coo representing women's sports.

Cambodia scheduled the 32nd edition of the SEA Games from May 5 to 16—a year after Vietnam hosted this year’s Games—with the capital Phnom Penh as the main hub.

Tolentino said centerpiece athletics and aquatics tops the sports program as Category I sports with the marathon for men and women starting and finishing at Angkor Wat as well as the road and mountain bike (MTB) cycling.

The other sports under Category II are badminton, basketball (5x5 and 3x3), boxing, billiards, cycling (road and MTB), canoeing, rowing, Ok Chaktrong, Asean and Xiangxi), dancesport, fencing, football, golf, gymnastics (aerobic and artistic), hockey (including indoor), judo, karate, muay, petanque, sailing, sepaktakraw (including chinlone), soft tennis, table tennis, taekwondo, traditional boat race, triathlon (including duathlon and aquathlon), volleyball, wrestling and weightlifting.

Grouped in Category III are arnis, bodybuilding, esports, jiu-jitsu, jet ski, kickboxing, kun vocator, vovinam and martial arts Korea.

Under consideration, Tolentino said, are water polo, cricket, shooting, wushu, floorball and obstacle sports.

With Cambodia as host in 2023, all Asean member nations—except for Timor Leste—have already hosted the biennial multi-sport games. (PR)