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Athletes aim for London

120216_22

A trio of Cambodian athletes will make attempts to join the 2012 London Olympic Games in the coming weeks by taking part in Olympic qualification tournaments in their respective sports.

Wrestling hopeful Chov Sotheara flew to Gumi in South Korea on Monday night along with her trainer Thin Vichet to compete in the 2012 Asian Senior Wrestling Championship, which begins today and runs until next Monday.

Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post
Cambodian wrestling sensation Chov Sotheara (below) grapples with a national team colleague during a practice session at the Wrestling Hall of the National Sports Centre.

Chov Sotheara will be grappling in the 48kg category, where three slots are on the line for tickets to London.

The 26-year-old, who won gold at the 2009 SEA Games in Laos but fell at the quarterfinal stage of the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia, is one of four Cambodian athletes on an Olympic scholarship.

Should she grab a place on the podium in Gumi, the wrestler will become the first Cambodian female to officially qualify for the world’s biggest sports event.

Sotheara will get another bite at the Olympic apple should she fail in Korea by heading to Kazakhstan in late March to take part in the remaining Asian Olympic qualifying competition.

Meanwhile, 2011 SEA Games silver medalist Khom Ratanak Mony will be off to the Czech Republic next week to attend the Olympic qualifiers.

The Paris-based Judoka has been training hard since returning to his French homeland after last year’s successful trip to Jakarta.

“I am looking forward to this competition,” Khom Ratanak Mony told the Post by email.

“I have already booked my flight from Paris to Prague and want to do my best for Cambodia. It will be a dream come true if I can make it to the London Olympics and I feel really great now since I have been training for this event.”

Cambodian boxer Phal Sophat will also be trying his luck in a qualifier in Uzbekistan later in March.

The Kingdom is assured of four places in London – two swimmers and two track & field athletes – based on the IOC’s policy of universality which grants wild card entries to the National Olympic Committees of developing nations.

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