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Cambodian Catholics to build peace through sport competition

Some competitors in the sporting event.

The Catholics of the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh organized a sports competition to promote harmony in Takeo province, approximately 70 kilometers south of the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh.

Cheers and cheers erupted as water bottles and bucks rang around the venue to encourage the contestants to win the Bishop Olivier Award on May 1 at the St. Paul Institute in Korki village, Tapam commune, Tram Kak district of the country.

This sports program has been established annually since 2005. The first competition was founded in Chamkatieng Church, Takeo Province.

On the day of the competition, Bishop Olivier Olivier Schmitthaeusler, Apostolic Vicar of Phnom Penh, stated that the game's purpose was to exercise and celebrate brotherhood among Catholics of various backgrounds.

"Once a year is a time to gather the parishioners, Catholic schools, Catholic offices, and parish priests in the seven provinces of Phnom Penh for an opportunity to meet in brotherhood, exercise, and prepare to create joy and peace," said Bishop Olivier.

The Vicariate of Phnom Penh covers Phnom Penh's capital and seven provinces, such as Kandal, Takeo, Kampong Speu, Kampot, Kep, Sihanoukville, and Koh Kong.

"Winning or not winning is not important, but the important thing is that we have done our best, and we have prepared for this day for a while to show both physical and mental strength," said Bishop Oliver, “knowing that we are resilient people, and this is how we build our future."

He stressed that in our lives and when playing sports, we have to struggle and have the discipline that makes us realize that we can build real peace in our country.

The bishop of Phnom Penh continued that this May, Cambodia is hosting the 2023 SEA Games; we are proud to be participating in this program through today's Games and involved in building peace.

Song Kimhong also said that this is the second time he has participated in this program and that sports have helped society and young people today, as well as their health and good relationships with people around them.

A fourth-year student at St. Paul's Institute, 21-year-old Eav Keopanhayavit, thanked the management for organizing the event, which was well attended and made the atmosphere even happier.

Keopanhayavit claims that his team's most crucial asset in this match is team unity. He said that the competition had gathered a lot of people and some sports as well.

The tournament features basketball, volleyball, football (12 men and eight women in a team), table tennis,​ and boules, with 1208 participants and about 400 fans.

Sok Channy, a member of the Vocation group for a football match, said, "It was a short time or a night that we had to meet and practice as a team, but we all got that first place.” 

He explained that it is because we "work together as a team, we play peacefully and happily together without quarreling or arguing, and these factors make us successful."

Faith is also essential for our sport, said Chany. “I understand that when we have faith, we believe that God is with us, which gives us more strength to play sports peacefully at that time. We can also show our love for one another through marks.


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.