Young Cambodian riders Moeng Sochea and Phat Makara made a spectacular international debut last weekend in a pre-SEA Games equestrian event in Myanmar at the Naypyidaw Horse Park.
Handling their mounts with great aplomb and maintaining a nice balance in the saddle, the duo went through the hurdles without a hitch to complete a perfect round which drew appreciation all round.
Performing away from home for the first time, Moeng Sochea and Phat Makara picked up a silver medal ahead of a Malaysian pair, while the gold went to Team Thailand.
Two other Cambodian riders, Phun Pheaktra and Hoy Soparith, also put their riding skills to the test and returned with encouraging results, though they were some way off a podium finish. All four contestants in this competition form the core of the eight-player national team preparing for December’s SEA Games in Naypyidaw.
International instructor and Cambodia national team coach Kathy Lovatt told the Post that the team silver medal was a big breakthrough for the country’s equine program.
Meanwhile, Cambodian Equestrian Federation Secretary General Tep Mona said they were also working very hard on other disciplines in the sport.
“We lack experience in Dressage but we are strengthening ourselves to cope with it. But I am confident we can make it happen in this category,” she told the Post.
“As for Endurance, it is very hard to get regular practice as it requires long rides, gallops and trots over a stretch of nearly 80 kilometres. Even if we wanted to, we just dont have the space.”
On the sidelines of this pre-Games equestrian trials, Mona Tep also attended the General Assembly of the South East Asian Equestrian Federation, where Harald Link of Thailand was re-elected as president. The
SEAEF board was also reconstituted with Steven G Virata of the Philippines assuming office as the new secretary general of the Federation. The rest of the other board members retained their places.
“The SEAEF is very attentive to the needs of each national federation. We discussed supporting activities that are being planned for the coming months to help national teams prepare for the Games,” said Tep Mona.
Meanwhile, the CEF is planning a field trip soon for the national team to Thailand where the SEAEF will host a Junior Camp.