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Japanese youth volunteers arrive in Phnom Penh to coach judo

Kyodo

A group of youth volunteers dispatched to Cambodia by the Japanese government to coach judo arrived in the capital Phnom Penh on Tuesday.

The university students, from Tokyo and Nara Prefecture, were accompanied by team leader Gotaro Ogawa, a former Japanese ambassador to Cambodia who is an adviser to the Japan Judo Federation.

They will coach young Cambodian judoka in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap through Aug. 25 under the Japanese government’s “Sport for Tomorrow” initiative, aimed at promoting sports exchanges in the lead-up to Tokyo’s hosting of the Olympics in 2020.

“It is expected that sending these volunteers will strengthen the friendly relations between Japan and Cambodia as well as to develop a momentum toward the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” the Japanese Embassy said in a statement.

Lach Vuthy, president of Cambodia Judo Federation, said that there are about 50 Cambodian judoka, many aged between 10 and 13.

He said Cambodians have performed well in regional and international judo competitions since judo became established here in 1983.

Japan has also been extending assistance to Cambodia in soccer, tennis, volleyball, swimming, kendo and aikido.