ABOUT 50 riders are readying to take part in the Kingdom’s premier show jumping tournament, the Norodom Sihanouk du Cambodge Championship, over the next three Sundays at the Cambodian Country Club.
Sessions for the competition, now in its seventh edition, are scheduled for the morning and afternoon, from 9:30am to noon and from 3pm to 5pm.
The event offers a rare chance for people to see top class equestrian action in the Kingdom, with the club offering free entry for spectators this weekend. CCC horse manager Hoy Soparith hopes this will introduce more Cambodians to the sport.
“I think it will be good to have many people coming to watch this horse competition in order to expand the horse riding sector and make it more prosperous in Cambodia,” he said. “After the Khmer Rouge regime, we were slow to consider the sport.”
The manager noted that the number of locals learning how to ride horses is still quite limited, with just a third of the 300 registered members at the CCC being Cambodian. However, local riders will outnumber foreigners 30-20 at the championships.
National team coach Guillaume Larivain revealed an extra burden on the minds of the home performers. “This year it is a challenge for the Cambodian riders because of the pressure around their possible selection for the SEA Games in November,” he said.
On Sunday, live music performances will accompany the proceedings. The event continues the following Sunday, with finals of the four categories – Galop 1, Galop 2/3, Galop 4/5 and Grand Prix – to be held on February 13. Trophies will be awarded by members of the Cambodian royal family. An entry fee of US$5 on those days will give spectators access to all the club’s facilities, including the restaurant, tennis courts, swimming pool and fitness room.