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Table tennis group of death

091210_23
Cambodia's Khun Phannith hits a return against Indonesia’s Muhammad Hussein on Tuesday. AFP

Cambodia loses all of their group matches and are disqualified

Vientiane
THE Cambodian mens table tennis team were competently beaten by the Philippines and Singapore in their SEA Games group A fixtures Wednesday to complete a miserable campaign that saw them fail to register a single game victory.

Cambodia had lost 3-0 to Indonesia in their opening match Tuesday evening at the National University Convention Hall in Vientiane. Ngoy Bunthong lost his rubber in straight sets 2-11, 9-11 and 3-11 to Ficky Supit Santoso, and Khun Phannith was battered by Muhammad Hussein 2-11, 6-11 and 1-11, and Tang Hov was no match for Yon Mardiyono, losing 5-11, 1-11 and 7-11.

In the second round Wednesday morning, the team suffered similar punishment at the hands of the Philippines. Ngoy Bunthong fell to Rodel Valle 6-11, 5-11, 5-11, Sam Boroath was defeated 8-11, 6-11, 2-11 by Henberd Otalla, and Tang Hov was smashed 3-11, 1-11, 7-11 by Ting Ledesma.

Then on Wednesday evening, Cambodia faced the formidable Singaporeans, who predictably trounced them 3-0. Gao Ning brushed past Tang Nov 11-5, 11-5, 11-4, Pang Xue Jie beat Khun Phannith 11-5, 11-3, 1-5, and Yang Zi crushed Ngoy Buthong 11-4, 11-3, 11-4.

Team manager Mak Bunthy admitted that it is not easy for the Cambodian players to compete against such a tough group featuring some of the best teams in the region, especially Singapore, who boast world-class players.

“Our athletes are lack of experience, so it’s not easy for them to beat the opponents,” said the manager. “We are so different. Others players are trained by foreign coaches, especially from China, but our players are trained by Cambodians who have not so much experience in international competitions”.

Neth Sacha noted that Cambodia had previously been better than Laos. “But now the Laotians go higher than us because they have a Chinese coach,” he said. “We need more practice time to reach a higher standard. However, it is still difficult for us to find the players who can devote their time to playing table tennis without other commitments. Some of them are students, workers, etc.”

Singapore face Vietnam and Indonesia face Thailand in the semifinals at 10am today.

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