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Swimmers forced to drop events

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Hem Thon Ponloeu will be the only Cambodian competing in two events this week at the 11th FINA World Short Course Championships in Istanbul. Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post

 

Swimmers representing Cambodia at this week’s 11th FINA World Short Course Championships in Istanbul have been forced to drop out of two races due to apparent errors during the registration process.

Two of the three squad members, 19-year-old Hem Thon Vitiny and Maximov Chamraen Youri, 17, will race in just their stronger events having originally planned to compete in two each.

Vitiny will be competing in the women’s 50-metre freestyle on Saturday while Chamraen is down for the same race in the men’s category today.

Only 22-year-old Hem Thon Ponloeu will compete in two events  –  the men’s 50-metre freestyle today and the 50-metre breaststroke on Saturday.

National team coach Hem Kiry told the Post yesterday that he was unsure about what exactly went wrong during registration as world governing body FINA had not given them any reasons. Vitiny and Chamraen will no longer be participating in the 50-metre backstroke and 50-metre butterfly races, respectively.

The three swimmers competing in Turkey are no strangers to international events. Ponloeu and his niece Vitiny both received Olympic Solidarity placements to participate in the London Olympics over the summer, while this week’s race is Chamraen’s second time at the FINA World Short Course Championships.

Kiry remained optimistic that the swimmers will perform well because of hard work in training, while conceding that the medals would be “too hard to reach”.

“We have been training, not just two months before the competition, but for a whole year ever since the London Games. I hope they come back with good results,” said the coach.

Khmer Amateur Swimming Federation Secretary-General Hem Thon, a legend of Cambodian swimming during the 1960s and father and grandfather to Ponloeu and Vitiny, respectively, is accompanying the team in Istanbul.

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