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Cambodia sending more officials than athletes to Games

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By Ek MadraPHNOM PENH, Jan 25 (Reuters) – Cambodia will send almost three times more officials than athletes to this year’s Olympicsincluding the families of the country’s sports chiefs. The impoverished nation, which has never won an Olympic medal, will send 11 officials to Beijing to accompany just four athletes, Cambodia’s Olympic committee chief said on Friday.“We will have a team of two athletes and two swimmers,” Meas Sarin told Reuters. “For the chef de mission and Olympic committee president and secretary general, guests such as wives or children can accompany us.”The athletes will each receive $200 from the government and the country’s Olympic committee for attending the Games, with top officials given an allowance of $7,000, he added.The announcement comes just over a year after Prime Minister Hun Sen blasted Cambodia’s Olympic officials for freeloading after officials had squandered over $1 million, much of it on taking large entourages at international events.The two gold medals won by Cambodia’s petanque players at last year’s Southeast Asian Games were among the country’s proudest sporting moments.We don’t have a hope of winning anything (in Beijing),” he said. “We have no qualified coaches, how can we get medals, it is impossible.At least we will be there, to show our faces to the world that we are there joining the Games.”(Editing by Martin Petty and Alastair Himmer)

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Written by Kolbot Khmer

February 17, 2008 at 7:22 pm

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