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Foreign-based Cambodians to join teams for SEA Games

Basketballer Boroth Thach (front left) shoots a three-pointer during a game for Malbas in Malmo, Sweden. Boroth is set to join the Cambodian squad for the SEA Games. Photo Supplied

Basketballer Boroth Thach (front left) shoots a three-pointer during a game for Malbas in Malmo, Sweden. Boroth is set to join the Cambodian squad for the SEA Games. Photo Supplied

With just over three months remaining until the start of the 26th SEA Games in Indonesia, several foreign-based Cambodians have emerged as encouraging potential add-itions to the Kingdom’s contingent.

According to National Olympics Committee of Cambodia games co-ordinator Nhan Sokvisal, all sports federations have until the end of this week to present their list of prospective athletes and officials for the Games.

Those names will then be forwarded to the National Training Center, an institute set up by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports to support members of national teams, for final ratification by a technical committee.

“We have already sent the entry form  by numbers to the SEA Games local org-anising  committee, and we have until the end of September to submit the entry form by names,” Nhan Sokvisal said.

Nearly a complete starting line-up of basketball players living overseas has been slated to join the national team this October ahead of the regional sporting showpiece.

“I have been in constant touch with [Stephan Doll-Therro] Sao and other foreign players and can confirm that arrangements have been made to have at least four of them join the team,”  coach Austin Koledoye said.

Sao, who recently signed up with the Austrian first-division club Vorchdorf Giants, met with team officials during a trip to Cambodia in February and has indicated his willingness to represent his fatherland.

Sweden-based basketballer Boroth Thach is another promising talent expected to boost the squad.

The 24-year-old forward, who was born in Sisophon and left Cambodia at the age of three, is jumping at the chance to help his country of birth fight for honours at the November competition.

“It will be a dream come true for me to play for Cambodia,” Boroth Thach wrote by email from his home in Malmo. “I love my country and have been training hard with my team [Malbas] here to be in shape for the SEA Games.”

Two other Cambodians who play for community sides in the US are set to combine with the basketball team in the coming months.

Meanwhile, Swiss-based sprinter Wanheab Pin is aiming to make the cut for the athletics team.

The 26-year-old, who lives in Rombach, Switzerland, says he is “working hard and doing a lot to be in shape before the SEA Games”, adding that he hopes to improve on his personal bests of 11 seconds over 100 metres and 22.1 seconds over 200 metres.  

Hem Thon, secretary-general of the Cambodia Amateur Swimming Federation and director of the NOCC’s administration department, revealed the acquisition of a young star who is set to shine at the Jakabaring Sport Complex pool in Palembang.

“The Khmer-born Sovichea Pu, whose father was a former swimming athlete, has been training for the SEA Games in the USA,” Hem Thon said after getting the all-clear to include Sovichea Pu in the national team from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the NOCC.

“He has a lot of ability, and we ack-nowledge that we have only four other Cambodian swimmers that can compare to his standard.”

Hem Samnang, secretary-general of the Cambodian Taekwondo Federat-ion, confirmed that several athletes were expected to make the final list for the SEA Games.

“We have about three good players based in USA and will join the team later in October,” he said.

Cambodia will send about 150 athle-tes to compete in 22 sports at the  SEA Games, which will run from November 11 to 26 and be co-hosted by the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang.  ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY DAN RILEY



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