Cambodia’s taekwondo medal prospects at the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, lie solely with the Sorn sisters, Davin and Seavmey, who have built up an imposing record at the regional level.
The taekwondo events will be held at the Ganghwa Dolmens Gymnasium from September 30 to October 3.
Twenty-two-year old Davin, a silver medalist at the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia, narrowly missed out on a gold again in the Myanmar edition last December after going down to Kirstie Elaine Alora of the Philippines. However, her younger sibling Sivmey easily defeated Indonesia’s Selviana Angelia Jehabut to top the podium in the women’s under-73kg class.
The two are fresh from a trip to Uzbekistan a couple of months ago, where they showed exemplary fighting skills against quality opposition, a performance head coach Choi Yong Sok believes will considerably boost their morale in Incheon.
It was at the 2012 London Olympics that Sorn Davin left a grand impression of her fighting abilities after going down 2-3 to the defending champion Maria Espinoza of Mexico in a hard-fought first-round matchup.
“It was a sterling performance. She was a bit unlucky on that day but she has kept building on that promise,” Choi told the Post in an exclusive interview before yesterday morning’s training session.
“They are in very good shape and spirits. They have gained a lot of competition experience and I am confident they will do well,” added the South Korean native, who is Cambodia's longest-serving foreign coach, having taken up the job in 1994.
“The taekwondo events begin only on September 30. We have nearly 12 days to train in Korea. They have enough time to get settled. I have drawn up a plan for their training in various clubs.
“Sivmey will be competing in the under-73kg class while Davin will be in the over-73kg category. Both have a distinct height advantage and I expect both to figure prominently in their fights,” Choi said.
“The competition is really tough. Korea is the home of taekwondo and there are other countries who have a strong presence in the sport. I do believe both Davin and Sivmey have a good chance of a medal if they perform to their known potential.”
The third member of the Cambodian squad is young Ban Khemara, who will compete in the men’s under-54kg category.
Khemara, who has topped national contests several times, figured in the men’s under-58kg poomsae (moves performance) event at Myanmar. “He is relatively inexperienced at this level but he is talented and I expect a good performance from him,” Choi said.
South Korean Ambassador to Cambodia Kim Han-soo met the members of the Incheon-bound taekwondo squad recently to wish them well in the presence of National Olympic Committee of Cambodia secretary-general Vath Chamroeun.
“SEA Games results clearly show that both Davin and Sivmey have great potential. We saw Davin perform so well at the London Olympics. We fondly hope that they can bring us a medal,” Chamroeun said.