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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Youth of the Week: Sao Sokhim

Youth of the Week: Sao Sokhim

Have you ever thought that because of your failure you can find success? For Soa Sockhim, a seventeen year old gymnast, failure allowed her to achieve the successes she sought. Before she had a chance to join the second aerobic gymnastics championship in Asia, where she won the bronze medal, she had previously lost many competitions. It is true she lost the rivalry but what she focuses on is keeping her high commitment and motivation.

Born to a family of nine brothers and sisters, Sao Sockhim is the youngest daughter in her family. Her father passed away and her mother is a farmer. She started doing gymnastics at eleven years old. She said “Learning aerobics is not difficult as long as you have talent. In order to do this sport well, you have to be patient while your body becomes accustomed to exercising.” When she first started to practice, Sao considered her primary challenges to be the technique and the risk. Early on, she suffered a sprain while training with her brother. An unexpected challenge she has faced has been the uniforms that she is expected to wear in competition, which she said are more revealing than she is comfortable with.

To manage her time as a student athlete, she has to set a strict schedule. “I need to have good time management otherwise both my studies and my opportunities to follow my ideal career in gymnastics will fall apart,” she said.

Noy Phana, the team’s head coach, said that Soa Sokhim is different from other students. Whether she is sick or not, she is willing to train, while such complications would prevent her peers from participating. He added that she is good, diligent, and she will have a bright future.

Soa Sockhim said that the chance to compete in Vietnam was invaluable to her future, and not only as a gymnast. She was able to see the world away form Cambodia for the first time, and once the games began, she could see what kind of talent gymnasts outside of the Kingdom actually have. She was also able to meet some of the best gymnasts in the region and, most importantly, she was able to represent her country and bring honor to Cambodia.

Sao Sokhim’s advice to other youth is to spend their time doing something they love, whatever that might be, rather than waste free time doing nothing.

“In the future I not only want to be the most famous gymnast in Cambodia, I want ot be the most famous in Asia,” she said.

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