Tuesday, 19 June 2012 Yeun Ponlok and Dan Riley
Phnom Penh’s iconic Olympic Stadium would not be lost to the city’s rapid development, an official at Canadia Bank’s Overseas Cambodian Investment Corporation (OCIC) told the Post yesterday in response to questions about an online campaign launched in opposition to the rumoured plan.
Meng Chamroeun, site engineer for OCIC’s proposed constructions around the National Sports Complex, said his company “would not cause any damage to Cambodian sporting heritage”.
The campaign, entitled Future of the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh and posted by MyStadium Team last Thursday on the blogsite cityofwater.wordpress.com, claimed OCIC intended to demolish the stadium to make way for new buildings, citing undisclosed sources “at a high level in the government”.
The author also pointed readers to a link to a Facebook fan page for Olympic Stadium Phnom Penh.
Although Meng Chamroeun could not rule out the possibility of other companies developing the site in the future, he made assurances that the OCIC was interested only in enhancing the “beauty of the stadium”.
“We are currently performing maintenance work on the drainage system of the north side of the National Sports Complex. We will also build the new 10-storey National Olympic Committee of Cambodia headquarters on the periphery of the complex,” he said.
The NOCC building will also house a state-of-the-art Sports Medicine and Science Centre as well as offices for the Paralympics Committee.
The 50,000-capacity Olympic Stadium, completed in 1964, was designed by legendary Cambodian architect Vann Molyvann to host the 1963 Southeast Asian Peninsular Games, which were cancelled because of political turmoil.
Cambodia is the only founding member of the SEA Games never to have hosted the biennial event.