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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Wrestlers pin their hopes on SEA Games squad selection

Wrestlers pin their hopes on SEA Games squad selection

The Cambodian Wrestling Federation remain quiet about which champions to send to the SEA Games after the National Championships concluded Saturday

Chab Loueng (left, blue suit) gets squeezed under Chum Chivin during the men’s modern wrestling freeweight class final Saturday.

Gargantuan 140-kilogram wrestler Chum Chivin claimed first place in the men's modern wrestling freeweight division Saturday, but was told he'll need to lose 20kg in weight in order to be eligible to compete in the 2009 Southeast Asian Games in Vientiane in December.

Chab Loeung, who gained a bronze medal at the 2007 SEA Games in Thailand and came second Saturday to Chum Chivin, claimed he was incorrectly weighed as 60kg at the tournament, after which he was told to gain weight to compete in the 74kg division in December.

In the women's modern wrestling freeweight class final, Chov Sothera took first place, with Chay Chanraksmey in silver, and Chab Sokneang in bronze. The Cambodian Wrestling Federation have refused to reveal all their selection of wrestlers to travel to Laos, claiming it will incite jealously.

Modern-style wrestling is a combination of Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling. In the other men's modern-style divisions, Kang Denpiseth won at 51kg and Don Sao triumphed at 60kg. In the women's section, Chab Sokneang claimed the 48kg title and Try Sothavy took first in the 55kg class.

Women's modern wrestling freeweight champion Chov Sotheara (left, red suit) grapples during her final at Olympic Stadium on Saturday.

Results of other disciplines
Men also competed in classic and Greco-Roman disciplines. In the classic style, Sem Song won the 48kg class, Ear Sokchea took the 55kg title, Chhi Chhary took first in 59kg, Kong Luch was victorious in 63kg, Kong Mon triumphed at 66kg, and Nuth Sreyratha was crowned freeweight champion.

In the Greco-Roman discipline, Kang Denpiseth took his second gold in the 55kg division, and Chum Chivin flattened opponents to claim the freeweight division.

Though there are eight weight divisions for men at the SEA Games, and five divisions for women, the games' policy is to allow only participants in only five classes for men and three for women from each country in an attempt to prevent a particular nation from dominating the podium.

Squad needs sponsorship
Hok Chheang Kim, technical director of the Cambodian Wrestling Federation, said he wishes all national champions to compete at the SEA Games, but noted that places on the travelling team depend on the availability of funding from the government to sponsor their trip.

With all these restrictions and obstructions, it seems representing Cambodia at Wrestling in the SEA Games in December will be an epic struggle in itself.

Photos by Nick Sells (



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