Cambodia Hoping to Complete New National Stadium in May 2021

Photo shows the national stadium, which is set to be completed in the upcoming month of May 2021. Photo supplied.
  • Ky Soklim
  • April 13, 2021 7:45 AM

Vath Chamroeun, secretary general of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC), sat down with Cambodianess to discuss the upcoming 2023 SEA Games, the new $150 million national stadium and imported grass.

Ky Soklim: The National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) recently gave a tour of the newly-built Morodok Techo National Stadium (Cambodia’s newest largest-scale stadium). Could you kindly provide the reason behind this tour?

Vath Chamroeun: On behalf of the NOCC, it is our duty to keep track of the development of this national stadium in order to reduce any forms of obstacles or delays. According to the plan, this national stadium is set to be completed in the upcoming month of May 2021. That is why this is a good time for us to conduct an inspection tour of the structure.

Ky Soklim: The opening date is approaching very rapidly. However, for now, how close to completion is the stadium?

Vath Chamroeun: I would say it is 85 to 90 percent completed. We have already installed around 20,000 or so stadium chairs so far and we only need to install another 20,000 in order to finish the construction. From an engineering point of view, we are already around 90 per cent finished. The running track will be laid easily soon and the grass on the football field is also growing lushly. The grass here is technically developed to withstand the force that it will be faced during its active service.

Ky Soklim: Is the grass natural?

Vath Chamroeun: Yes, the grass is natural. Many athletes around the world prefer natural grass since it is more robust and it allows for better movement of the balls.

Ky Soklim: I was informed that there are five types of grass which were imported from China that are considered to be the candidates for the facilitation of this stadium. Does the stadium uses all five types of grass?

Vath Chamroeun: We have selected those grass types and test them inside the laboratory to see which one is the most suitable for the environment. We try to observe and test the level of growth and score their healthiness. Among those five types, one of them has been growing quite well in our environment and we are currently nurturing it onto our football field.

Ky Soklim: From what you’re saying, we cannot use the type of grass that exists naturally in our own country. Is that correct and why?

Vath Chamroeun: In Cambodia, we do not have the standard type of grass for the use within a football field. So, according to the international standards procedure, we have to use the qualified material for our stadium.

Ky Soklim: What is the cost of those types of grass?

Vath Chamroeun: We do not really know the exact cost of those types of grass. With the procedure from the Chinese team, there are many protocols involved. The cost varies between the types of grass. So, determining the real cost is unknown to me.

Ky Soklim: Is it complicated to look after the grass?

Vath Chamroeun: The grass has been well researched. It is able to withstand against the heat and the atmosphere. Below the football field, a system of water regulator has been installed to make sure that the quality and the moisture of the grass are well-balanced. On top of the football field, there are machines which help trim and fertilize the grass. Basically, the grass is not too hard to maintain. All it mainly needs is a good amount of sunlight from above.

Ky Soklim: Speaking of technical work, is it handled by the Chinese technicians or the Cambodian technicians? If the technicians are Chinese, when will the Cambodian people be ready to take responsibility for this kind of work?

Vath Chamroeun: Even though on the Chinese side, there are many Chinese engineers and Chinese researchers, throughout the construction process, there are also plenty of Cambodian technicians who work and learn along the way with the Chinese personnel. As soon as the Chinese complete their tasks, they will hand back the stadium to us and, until then, we will already have our own Cambodian technicians who will be ready to maintain the structure. As part of the tour that we are doing today, we tried to observe and evaluate the progress of the construction and to make sure if there is anything more to be added. So far, everything seems to go smoothly. However, right now we are trying to get the 200 or so Cambodian technicians [who work at the stadium construction] vaccinated to prevent them from being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ky Soklim: Upon completion, how much will the stadium cost in total?

Vath Chamroeun: Based on our data, the stadium is projected to cost between $140 million and $150 million. This is a package which is granted by the president of China as a gift for Cambodia in its upcoming Southeast Asian Game (SEA) of 2023.

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