The effort was part of the Beyond the Game campaign initiated by the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia to celebrate Cambodia’s hosting of the Southeast Asia Games (SEA Games) and ASEAN Para Games for the first time in its history.
Not only was a new record set but some $477,781 was raised from sponsors to aid the Cambodian athletes. The origami hearts folded totalled at 3,917,805, beating the previous record by 53,704 set by the Sports and Exercise Science students at the University of Kent in Chatham, United Kingdom, on February 9, 2019.
Hun Many, President of the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia, said that this achievement shows the love and support of Cambodian athletes by their compatriots. “We launched this campaign to promote national pride by turning the hearts of the Cambodian people to the athletes.
“I thank all the people who have worked so hard to reach this big achievement and this effort shows their huge love for Cambodia,” he said. He said the youngest Cambodian who participated in folding the heart origami was a four-year-old and the oldest was 80. People with disabilities also helped in breaking this record, he said.
Tomomi Sekioka, a representative of the Guinness Book of World Records, said she was impressed by Cambodia’s efforts and solidarity in breaking the record.“I want to say that I am amazed by the teamwork, commitment and discipline [of the entire Cambodian team],” she said.Siem Reap Provincial Administrative Director Ly Vannak said that origami hearts will be displayed at the Angkor Wat complex until after the Khmer New Year celebrations.Vannak however expressed concern that the paper hearts would be destroyed when it rains.
“The provincial authorities will have to discuss this issue with the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia to find a way to manage this problem,” he said.
On the cleanliness of Angkor where some Angkor Sankranta celebrations will be held, Vannak said “We have a garbage collection company and we also have young people from the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia who are working with the Ministry of Environment to clean up during and after the Angkor Sankranta festival,” he said.