Phnom Penh National Olympic Stadium
Phnom Penh National Stadium – stadium description
The ground was designed by Vann Molyvann in 1962 and after a year it was already opened to public. The rapid construction process was possible thanks to majority of the stands being raised in an artificial bowl. It took some 500,000 cubic meters of excavation for it to take shape.
Only one part that stands out is the main grandstand, most distinctive and multifunctional element. The reinforced concrete structure with decorative roof are conjoined with the national indoor hall that can accommodate some 8,000 people.
Capacity of the stadium itself is much bigger, officially standing at 50,000. Although an audience of that size is a rare sight especially now that most top-league games in Cambodia are actually taking place here (in 2010 even all of the fixtures!). Crowds of several hundred or thousands are hard to compare with those seen in 1965, when the stadium played host to World Cup qualifiers between North Korea and Australia. The ground was chosen as neutral due to tense political relations of North Korea who’s leader Kim Il-Sung had a friend in Cambodia’s king. However authorities took a very unusual means to assure the audience isn’t one-sided. A king’s decree announced that half of the crowd gathered has got to root for Australia. This didn’t help, “Socceroos” were crushed by Korean rivals in front of some 80,000 people on aggregate (two-legged tie).
Currently, apart from being the national venue, the stadium plays an important role for local residents. Thanks to stands being opened regularly a lot of people come inside for training and recreation.
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