Cambodia’s Chef de Mission for the 26th SEA Games, Vath Chamroeun (centre), answers questions from reporters at Phnom Penh International Airport yesterday. Photo by: Yeun Ponlok
Cambodia’s Chef de Mission to the recently concluded 26th SEA Games, Vath Chamroeun, has emphasised the urgent need for an integrated approach to boost the performance standard of national teams in many disciplines in the wake of some disappointing results from Indonesia.
Most of the Cambodian squads including football, basketball, badminton, table tennis and volleyball performed well below par, while tennis was the only team sport to bring in a medal, the bronze being the first for their team in 14 years.
All other Cambodian medals came from individual or paired events.
Upon his arrival from Jakarta yesterday morning, the head of the 230-strong Cambodian delegation told a media conference at the Phnom Penh International Airport that the Kingdom took pride in the achievements of all medalists, but the performances of some of the teams remained cause for concern.
“I am extremely happy that we increased our gold medal tally to four and silver medals to 11 from the previous Games in Laos. Overall we won 39 medals compared to 40 last time, but winning an extra gold and a silver was highly gratifying,” said Vath Chamroeun.
“As far as individual events are concerned, our athletes have performed admirably well especially in shironji kempo, vovinam, petanque, wushu, and taekwondo, but when it comes to team disciplines we were found wanting. The competition is getting a lot stiffer in these Games and we need to improve our standards,” added the official, who is Secretary General of National Olympic Committee of Cambodia.
“I do admit there are lot of limitations, but I feel it is time for us to rethink our strategy now that we know where exactly we stand.”
Praising vovinam star Ly Boramy’s double gold strike as one of Cambodia’s high points during the November 11-22 showpiece, Vath Chamroeun said events like petanque, kempo and vovinam were undoubtedly the Kingdom’s veritable medal winners.
“We continue to strongly support and nurture these disciplines. We have got good results and we can do still better. We fell short of our medal expectations in taekwondo, wrestling and boxing this time, though some of the individual performances hold out great promise for the future,” he said.
“Again, a country’s prestige is boosted by the number of gold medals and our aim definitely is for more and more. The Indonesian experience was an eye opener for Cambodia in many ways and I am sure our sports community will put the lessons learnt here to good use.”
Meanwhile, the Tennis Federation of Cambodia organised a warm reception at the airport for their triumphant men’s squad, with 10 kids from the TFC’s schools tennis initiative in attendance.
“We feel very proud that we won a bronze medal for the first time,” Cambodian No 1 Bun Kenny told members of the media.
TFC Secretary General Tep Rithivit noted the impact of their success in Palembang. “Why a bronze medal is so important for us at this stage is that it marks out our future path. This effort is a vindication of the faith our sponsors had and continues to have in the team as we embark on our Davis Cup journey next year.”
NagaWorld Honours Excellence
NagaWorld, the main sponsors of the Cambodian contingent at the 26th SEA Games, is currently in discussion with the NOCC over sponsorship plans for the ensuing 2012 London Olympics and the 2014 Asian Games in South Korea, according to NagaWorld Executive Director Pern Chen.
The Phnom Penh casino and resort sponsored the complete outfitting of the Cambodian delegation for the Indonesian Games besides offering cash incentives of US$3,000 each for every individual gold and donating $500 to the NOCC for each gold medal won. The four gold medalists will be presented with their bonus cheques at a function scheduled to be held at NagaWorld next Tuesday.
“Having witnessed some of the performances in Indonesia, we are delighted that Cambodia won one gold medal more than the previous games in Laos,” Pern Chen told the Post yesterday.
“Cambodian athletes have shown great determination and pride in representing their country. The four gold medalists from vovinam, petanque and kempo have brought great joy to every Cambodian.”
The executive also revealed that NagaWorld had expressed a desire to be involved in a sports grassroots foundation so that “Cambodia can produce more winners.”