THE Cambodia Table Tennis Federation (CTTF) announced Friday the name of four players who will compete in the 25th SEA Games in Laos, set to officially start December 9. The players include Ngoy Bunthang, Khun Phanith, Taing Hav and Sam Boroath.
Unlike other SEA Games athletes, the players have had no chance to train abroad, instead honing their skills at the National Sports Training Centre at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.
Ngoy Bunthang and Taing Hav will participate in both men’s singles and men’s doubles, while Sam Boroath and Khun Phanith are partners for men’s doubles. Cambodia has yet to claim a medal in Table Tennis at any of the previous SEA Games.
Sun Sothearith, general secretary of the CTTF, told the Post by phone Tuesday that he is not so confident that his players will yield success at the upcoming event, citing a lack of training opportunites.
He said it was “quite difficult to bring players together because most of them are busy with study”.
“For example, Taing Kim Hong who has won three national championships has chosen not to participate at the SEA Games because he thinks his priority is his university studies.”
At previous SEA Games, Cambodia has always finished near the bottom. However, the federation secretary hopes that players will achieve better results than before.
“The performance of our younger generation has improved a lot,” he said. “They can play well on both the right and left side. Before, the weakness of Cambodian players is the left side, and they always had difficulties when their opponents tried to play that side.”
The CTTF has accepted the request of the Southeast Asia Table Tennis Federation for organising a regional tournament for age categories of under-15 and under-18 in the Kingdom during 2010. “As the host country, we will try our best to get medals, and we have asked for sponsorship from the Chinese embassy in Cambodia to allow our players to train in China for a year,” stated Sun Sothearith, adding that he sincerely hopes to receive a positive response from them.
According to the table tennis official, Singapore has the most potential for SEA Games medals, due to many of their players originating from China.