On Saturday 12th July, Cambodia’s longest running active rugby NGO, PSE (Pour un Sourire d’Enfant) held a rugby celebration in order to promote rugby within PSE.
Kampuchea Balopp and PSE organised a big conference at the PSE grounds in Stung Meanchey which was attended by over 500 kids, teenagers, and ex students of PSE. PSE started in 1995, by assisting local Cambodian children who lived off the dump-site in Stung Meanchey in Phnom-Penh. Since then they have grown enormously and developed many programs to assist underprivileged children and their families.
With the expansion of their programs and growth, they have helped the children develop work skills, improved their health and their education. PSE were also the first adopters of rugby in Cambodia after French expats introduced it to them back in 2000. PSE and Kampuchea Balopp forged a partnership in June 2013 and currently we work with the following age groups at PSE: u11, u13,u15 and u18 and a women’s team.
The aim of this conference was to tell the story of the rugby history at PSE, and after an introduction by Doctor Sareth Sorn, Head of Sport activities at PSE, a series of videos with footage and photos tracing the history of rugby at PSE were shown. Several guest speakers were also present including Khemrin Dul, EX PSE and current Kampuchea Balopp coach and national team player who explained briefly what Kampuchea Balopp is doing and introduced the other KB coaches. Ratana Pich , current employee and rugby facilitator at PSE, and Garuda (PSE mens rugby team) and national team rugby player gave a presentation of all the different trophies that PSE has won through the years in Cambodia. Finally Vannak Vireak, ex PSE and current national team captain and Khmer Rugby Club player also addressed the kids on rugby and the opportunities it has brought him.
The talks were also a opportunity to praise the PSE women’s team for being crowned national champions of Cambodia for 2014 and were gifted shirts from the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union as well as showing off the trophy in front of the excited PSE students. In addition everyone got a first glimpse of the video being produced by Frapadoc on Womens rugby in Cambodia which features the PSE Womens team. The team captain and Pheary Samchan (Kampuchea Balopp coach and PSE womens player) also addressed the crowd.
The under 13s were also paraded and applauded by the crowd for becoming champions of Cambodia in 2014 and were presented shirts made by PSE in their honour.
The event ended with a celebration of the Koupreys national Team players (9 in total were present) and many part of the recent trip to Brunei as part of the Asian 5 Nations Division IV group where they lost to Mongolia but beat hosts Brunei. A rare away victory for the national side, The Koupreys!
All in all it was a great success and we are confident the next batch of eager young PSE rugby players and students new to the sport will carry on PSE’s fine rugby heritage and help grow the sport in Cambodia. Something Kampuchea Balopp is proud to be part of.