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Sorn Seavmey holds up her Asian Games gold medal
Sorn Seavmey holds up her Asian Games gold medal during a press conference at NOCC headquarters. Sreng Meng Srun

Seavmey to miss 2015 SEA Games

Taekwondo sensation Sorn Seavmey, who brought home Cambodia’s first ever Asian Games gold medal in 50 years from South Korea last year, has decided to miss this June’s SEA Games in Singapore and instead focus her energy and efforts to secure qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

Seavmey, 20, who won a memorable fight against her Iranian rival to win the women’s under-73kg final in the Asiad four months ago, will not be defending her 2013 Myanmar SEA Games gold in Singapore as she cannot compete in the weight category that best suits her.

The personal challenge Seavmey faced was whether or not to adopt a strict diet and training regimen to shed 5 kilograms in the next three months – without affecting the physical and mental strength needed to fight in Singapore.

To go or not to go was the stark choice she was asked to make by her coach Choi Yung-sok and National Olympic Committee secretary-general Vath Chamroeun.

She had been given until the end of February to make that call and, after considering the pros and cons, Seavmey has now decided not take that risk

She will now head to Europe in May for the Rio 2016 Olympic qualifiers along with her elder sister Sorn Davin, who has also decided to keep away from the Singapore Games owing to the nonavailability of her preferred weight class.

“I am glad that anxiety and doubt is over. I respect her decision. Yes, our medal prospects are hurt, but we have to consider what is good for her future.

“I hope it comes as a blessing in disguise and helps her qualify for the 2016 Olympics as the country’s first to do so,” Chamroeun said.

“In case Davin and Seavmey fail to qualify, we will seek wild cards for them,” Vath Chamroeun added.

Sorn Davin, a Myanmar SEA Games silver medalist who also took a bronze at last year’s Asian Championships in Tashkent, went out of the quarterfinals at the Incheon Asiad.

Davin was a wild card entry to the 2012 London Olympics, where she put up a spirited show in a narrow quarterfinal defeat.

In the words of coach Choi Yung-sok, reputations simply do not bother either Davin or Seavmey, since both of them are endowed with strong mental make-up.

Who other than the master best knows his pupils? In this case it is Choi Yung-sok, a South Korean native who regards Cambodia as home having served as a national coach since 1994, and who has been with the Sorn sisters every step of their way to success.

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