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Cambodia’s bodybuilding medal hopes for the upcoming SEA Games, Sambo Norn (left) and Sambo Nan, flex their muscles during a photo shoot in Phnom Penh.
Cambodia’s bodybuilding medal hopes for the upcoming SEA Games, Sambo Norn (left) and Sambo Nan, flex their muscles during a photo shoot in Phnom Penh. YEUN PONLOK

Sambos pumped for SEA Games

Sambo Norn and Sambo Nan have been intensifying their private training in eager anticipation of Cambodia’s inaugural appearance at the SEA Games bodybuilding competition in Myanmar this December.

Despite being based out of Bangkok for the past four years and competing regularly in bodybuilding tournament in Thailand, the beefcake brothers have sworn allegiance to the Kingdom’s flag, which they will proudly fly for the first time in the event.

“We used to be porters [at a shop on the Thai-Cambodian border] earning little in the way of wages. Then one of our friends asked us to train for bodybuilding,” Sambo Norn told the Post.

“Fortunately, we were given the chance to show our talent on stage in Thailand, and after that, we joined competitions very often as a part-time job.

“We got invitations from many countries to join their federation, but we always remembered who we are and where we’re from. So we applied for permission from the Cambodian Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation [CBFF] and the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, and eventually were accepted to represent the Kingdom in this sport at the 2013 SEA Games.”

Sambo Nan also noted they had been approached by a Thai club to become naturalised Thai bodybuilders but had turned down the offer. “We’re Cambodian, so I’d rather represent our nation,” he said.

CBFF President Raksmey Sokmongkol told the Post the federation and the NOCC had supported the Sambo siblings for the past four years with an eye on SEA Games participation.

“I believe they’ll get a positive result at this major event as they have experience performing in China and some other countries in Asia,” he said.

NOCC Secretary General Vath Chamroeun added that the CBFF had yet to unify its national clubs and associations, so it was helpful that the brothers’ were training abroad.

“[Cambodia] is looking for more than 10 gold medals from SEA Games,” he said, adding that the NOCC had decided to send a delegation of bodybuilders to Myanmar even before the Sambos have submitted their request.

According to the NOCC official, Cambodia expect to grab podium places in vovinam, taekwondo, English boxing, wrestling, kempo, petanque, tennis, wushu and bodybuilding.

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