Cambodia found themselves back on the golden path yesterday at the 27th SEA Games in Myanmar with triumph for the vovinam team. The Vietnamese martial art was the Kingdom’s most successful discipline at the 2011 Games in Indonesia, with team members grabbing two golds, seven silvers and three bronzes.
Yesterday’s morning session at the Zayar Thiri Indoor Stadium in Naypyidaw hadn’t offered much promise, however, with Chrin Bunlong, Kat Sopheak, Ly Boramy and San Socheat failing to repeat their silver medal in the men’s leg attack performance (known as Don Chan Tan Cong). The four were judged fifth on 265 points, as Vietnam clinched top spot with 280.
Cambodia’s Pov Sokha also missed out on the podium, coming fourth in women’s yin yang sword forms (Tinh Hoa Luong Nghu Kiem Phap) with 262. Myanmar’s Hnin Thi Da won with 269.
All was forgotten, however, in the afternoon when heroes Soeung Visal, Chin Piseth, Kat Sopheak and heroine Souer Chanleakena clinched gold in the one female defender against three male attackers with weapons performance (Da Luyen Vu Hhi Nu).
It was the Kingdom’s sixth gold medal of the Games, keeping them ninth in the medals table of 11. Thailand remain at the summit with 79 golds.
Two bronze medals were also kicked out for Cambodia on the vovinam mats with Mao Monita in women’s 45-50kg and Tin Pheap in men’s 55-60kg winning their quarter-finals but losing their semi-finals yesterday.
The delegation are hoping for more vovinam medals, as well as from events such as taekwondo, judo, kempo, sepak takraw and traditional boating before Sunday’s closing ceremony.
Bunna Cheang lost her women’s 53-57kg taekwondo quarter-final 15-1 on points at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium in Naypyidaw.
Cambodia had earlier yesterday spurned the chance to steal a march up the table on noisy neighbours Laos by losing the gold medal match in petanque mixed triples (two women, one man) at the Petanque Arena near Naypyidaw’s Athletes Village.
Tep Nora, Chhin Srey Pich and Duong Dina had been blazing a trail in the competition, winning all four preliminaries on Wednesday before dispatching Vietnam 13-6 in yesterday morning’s semi-final to guarantee silver.
But the trio came a cropper in the final despite surging into a 4-0 lead to eventually lose 13-5 to Laos players Thepphakan Bovilak, Nienmani Lar and Souliya Manyvanh.
Meanwhile, Cambodia’s other triples squad (two men, one woman) of Songvat Chakriya, Sieng Vanna and Ya Chandararith suffered a 13-9 defeat in the semi-finals to another Laos outfit to collect the bronze.
The Cambodian women’s hockey team conceded their hundredth goal in their fifth and final group game yesterday at the Hockey Field in Yangon, going down 7-0 to hosts Myanmar.
Pakistan-born coach Rana Asif Maqsood will be overwhelmed with areas to improve on but he should be commended for at least producing a team for competition out of absolutely no hockey tradition in the Kingdom and, indeed, not a single Astroturf facility suitable for training on at home.
The side will have one last chance to score a goal in the competition today when playing Indonesia, who beat them 15-0 on Monday, in the fifth place play-off at 10am Cambodian time. Myanmar will take on Singapore for the bronze medal at 12:30pm before huge favourites Malaysia meet Thailand in the title decider at 3pm.
At the athletics track of Naypyidaw’s Wunna Theikdi Sports Complex, Kieng Samorn came up short in the men’s 1,500 metres, finishing sixth. The Cambodian middle distance runner and London Olympian had made his way to second place up until the last 200m, when he appeared to run out of gas.