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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Champ retires with bronze

Champ retires with bronze

C AMBODIA'S "lucky" bronze medallist, judoist Nut Hour (pictured right), has officially retired from sport "because I am too old to fight," he says.

Hour, a policeman, became a bit of recent Cambodian history by winning the country's first medal back in truly international competition.

He did not win a fight, but getting a bye in the first round guaranteed him a medal.

His bronze now stands at pride of place at his home along with a silver medal he won at the 1974 games in Singapore, and a national gold medal.

Hour, who has been a boxer and kick-boxer since aged seven, learnt the traditional Khmer fighting style Kbach Kun Khmer from his father.

He became expert at judo after he left his Prey Veng home for Phnom Penh in 1960.

"Even though I had a backache or footache, I still tried to concentrate on training," he said.

Hour said he had competed many times in Asia, where he often won, and Europe, where he mostly lost.

"The European judoists are very strong and modern because they had enough material and equipment to research new tactics.

"They have much more strength and they have computers to control mistakes and highlight good points during training," he said.

"But Asia is doing well now and has good new tactics".

He said he wished he had won in Chiang Mai because "I wanted to bring honor for my country and myself".

It was hard for him to win because he only had two opponents to practice against in Cambodia.

Neither did he have a warm-up partner before his bouts in Thailand, he said.

A family man with six children, his wife helped him by selling cakes in front of his old house in Khan Toul Kork.

"In my life, even though I am poor, I am still interested in sport and I know that I will continue training the young generation," he said.

"I love sport very much in my life. I have always been proud of it and never thought of giving up totally," he said.

Hour's oldest son was also a policeman and has a black belt in karate.

His other four sons, aged 15, 13, 11 and nine have trained for years in clubs at the National Stadium.

Hour, at the time of the interview on Dec.19, had not yet received the Prime Minister's $3,000 pledge.

He said if he got the money he would repair his house, help his family improve their living conditions and buy sporting equipment.

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