The Cambodian SEA Games delegation was left mourning the tragic death of national basketball team player Phal Samphors over the weekend after a traffic accident on Friday claimed the life of one the Kingdom’s most promising home-grown talents.
According to a report by the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, Phal Samphors died from injuries suffered during a collision with a truck on National Highway 1 in Koh Phos village of Kean Svay district, in Kandal province, at 6:05pm on Friday.
The towering 19-year-old, who had been with the national team set-up for the past three years, was said riding a motorbike on his way to deliver money to his mother before his departure to the SEA Games in Indonesia this week.
His funeral was held on Saturday in his home village of Khlar Kham in Prey Veng province’s Preah Sdach district.
“A Hyundai truck with plate number 2K 6762, travelling in the opposite direction to the Honda Dream [motorbike] with plate number 1AG 7919 of [Phal] Samphors, hit the victim head on before pulling him along the road for 20 metres,” a traffic police statement read.
Ouk Sethycheat, Director of National Training Centre, told the Post after joining the funeral for Samphor that the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport had donated 2 million riels (US$488) to the bereaved family, while the NOCC and the Cambodian Basketball Federation had combined to contribute US$500.
“It is a bad news that we lost the best [Cambodian based] player like Samphors, who was set to participate at the 26th SEA Games in Indonesia. Unfortunately he died during a trip home to take $300 to his mother,” added Ouk Sethycheat.
At a height of 1.90 metres, Samphors was the tallest member of the Cambodian squad and was to play as centre in the starting lineup at the SEA Games alongside their four foreign-based recruits.
“It’s a big, big loss,” head coach Auston Koledoye told the Post yesterday.
“We brought Samphors to Phnom Penh two years ago after discovering him playing in a regional competition. We gave him a house and persuaded his family to let him stay. He was developing very well.”
The coach added that replacing Phal Samphors for the SEA Games was not possible.
“We will have a team meeting [today] and discuss our strategies for defence. The other team members are finding it very difficult. It’s a difficult moment for us.”
TRANSLATED BY PANN RETHEA, ADDIT-IONAL REPORTING BY DAN RILEY