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Golden path hits bump at Games

ISKA Kun Khmer middleweight world champion Vorn Viva, real name Chhoun Sok Leng, came away with a bronze at the SEA Games yesterday.

Cambodia’s medal hunt netted just one silver from judo yesterday, while petanque, wrestling and boxing combined saw three bronze finishes for the Kingdom as the 26th SEA Games entered its second week in Indonesia.

The high point of the day for Cambodia came at the Kelapa Gading Judo Center in Jakarta as Khom Ratanakmony, fighting for men’s 50-55 kg gold, lost a valiant battle against home favourite Toni Iravan of Indonesia.

On his climb up to the final, the Cambodian judoka scored two crucial wins. He shut out Supanat Prasetsri of Thailand in the quarterfinals and Kap Cin Pau of Myanmar in the semis to set up that final showdown with the Indonesian.

The judo medal count could well be boosted today when four Cambodian fighters figure in quarterfinal bouts. Sngoun David (66-73 kg), Kim Saron (60-66 kg) and Chim Keo (55-60 kg) figure in the men’s section while last year’s Singapore Youth Olympics bronze medallist Sam Sothea will be fighting for a place in the women’s 45-48kg class.

The boxing ring of Palembang’s University of Sriwijaya threw up three bronze medals for Cambodia yesterday even as a few hopefuls came a cropper. Phal Sophat, Phal Sophorn and Hin Say Hong made quarterfinal exits but relief for the squad came through Chhuon Sok Leng, Huot Samath and Svay Ratha, who landed a bronze each after losing their semifinals.

Much was expected from Chhoun Sok Leng, more popularly known as Vorn Viva, but the ISKA Kun Khmer Middleweight World Champion – who retained his title against Ben Barwise in July – found the going increasingly tough against Alex Tatontos of Indonesia.

In the light heavyweight category, Vietnam’s Luong Van Toan outboxed Huot Sam Ath while Svay Ratha lost his light welterweight fight to Afdan Bachtila of Indonesia.

Over at the Jakabaring Sport Complex, Cambodia salvaged another bronze from the petanque courts when Ke Leng finished third in the women’s shooting.

Cambodia’s tennis challenge in the singles events came to a disappointing end with the country’s top-ranked player, Bun Kenny, fighting every inch of the way before going down 6-4, 7-6 in the pre-quarterfinals to Indonesian No 1 Christopher Rungkat, Kenny’s touring pal.

Earlier in the day, Cambodia’s Long Samneang was outclassed in the men’s singles by one of the top contenders from the Philippines, Jeson Patrombon, 6-0, 6-1.

The Kingdom’s women’s singles aspirations also vanished when Andrea Ka was beaten 6-3, 6-3 by Thailand’s Nicha Lertpitaksin.

The Kenny-Rungkat clash was easily the best of the round and both took turns to dominate the other in two close sets of quality and sharp exchanges.

“It was indeed a pity that one of them had to lose, and it is all the more disheartening because in the end it was to be Bun Kenny,” said Tennis Federation of Cambodia Secretary General Tep Rithivit yesterday.

“Kenny had his chances in both the sets. He just couldn’t cash in on some crucial points, especially in that tight second set,” added national team coach Braen Aneiros.

Meanwhile, Cambodian golfers Patrick Tom and Sang Vanseiha were way off the pace at the end of the fourth round.

Patrick Tom could hardly sustain his first-round effort of 73, and drifted alarmingly to an overall 320 to be placed 25th on the leader board.

The fairways at the Jagorawi Country Club were not so friendly to Seng Vanseiha, either. The 19-year-old ended up with a 72-hole total of 337 with his worst of 89 coming in the second round. He was placed 29th overall.

Cambodia’s basketballers suffered their third straight defeat, going down 78-57 to Vietnam to end up winless in the four-team group A.

Cambodia now face the ignominy of playing in the seventh-place playoff against Myanmar.

After bagging archery and rowing golds yesterday, Myanmar managed to sneak ahead of Cambodia in the medals table.

Indonesia expectedly reached a century of gold medals and stayed comfortably ahead of Vietnam, who had climbed over Thailand.

East Timor remained at the bottom of the table, with just one bronze from taekwondo to their credit.



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