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Vovinam star struggles to join the SEA Games

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Sorn Elit displays his over 90kg combat gold medal from the 2011 World Vovinam Championships. The 26th SEA Games in Indonesia in Novemeber will not feature Sorn Elin’s weight category.

Cambodian martial arts expert Sorn Elit has threatened to abandon the Vovinam national team after learning that he will not be eligible to participate in his chosen event at the 26th SEA Games in Indonesia due to weight restrictions.

The athlete, who grabbed a silver and a bronze medal in taekwondo at the 2009 and 2007 SEA Games tournaments respectively, has rapidly risen the ranks in Vovinam over the past two years, leading to a gold medal in the over 90kg combat division at the 2011 World Vovinam Championships in Ho Chi Minh City last month.    

“I heard the news from my coach that I would not have a chance to join the 26th SEA Games, as there is only 55-60kg and 45-55kg for men’s and women’s competitions of Vovinam,” said the stockily built Sorn Elit. “I will retire from this [sport] if I can’t join [the SEA Games].”

Roth Sokhorn, President of the Cambodia Vovinam Federation, offered another way for the fighter to travel to Indonesia.

“Sorn Elit may join in the part of long stick performance in Vovinam, which does not have weight restrictions,” he said. “We will send [Sorn Elit] to train in Vietnam for the next few months in order to satisfy him.”

However, the decorated Cambodian admitted his hopes of success at the Games would be severely affected.

“Long stick performance is more difficult than combat in Vovinam, so I am only 65 percent sure to win the gold medal,” Sorn Elit said, adding that he appreciated the efforts of the Federation top accommodate him. 

TRANSLATED BY PANN RETHEA

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