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Youth Olympics squad flies out

The six-member Cambodian delegation headed by Chef de Mission Nhan Sokvisal will depart Phnom Penh tomorrow for the 2nd Youth Olympic Games in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing.

The Kingdom’s medal hopes for the August 16-27 tournament are pinned on male swimmer Cheng Sopha, female sprinter Sokha Panha Viriyak Vatey and female wrestler Dorn Srey Mao.

Athletics trainer Lak Loch and swimming coach Hem Kiry will be part of the delegation.

Since only two officials are allowed to accompany athletes in keeping with the size of the squad, wrestling coach Chov Sotheara had to drop out, according to the chef de Mission.

The Games contingent has received corporate backing for the mission, with Angkor Beer stepping in to support the squad’s training as well as providing competition clothing and other expenses. Cash rewards for medal winning performances have also been guaranteed by the sponsors.

“We thank Angkor Beer for this grand gesture. This is the first time our Youth Olympic squad has received support from the private sector,” National Olympic Committee of Cambodia secretary-general Vath Chamroeun told the Post yesterday.

“We need to send more athletes to events like Youth Olympics and the best way to achieve this goal is for our federations to vigorously pursue grassroots programs and produce athletes of real ability.

“It is not the performance which counts in these global events, it is Olympic education and cultural exchanges with athletes from all over the globe,” Chamroeun added.

French-born Cambodian teenager Sokha Panha Viriyak Vatey has shown a lot of promise since switching to athletics from gymnastics nearly two years ago. The 16-year-old will compete in the Girls’ 100-metre dash.

Wrestler Dorn Srey Mao, 18, represented Cambodia at the 2013 Myanmar SEA Games and that experience should stand her in good stead.

Fifteen-year-old swimmer Cheng Sopha, who competes in the 50m freestyle, is relatively short on competitive experience but has been hugely benefited by an Asian swimming camp he attended in Qatar a month ago.

Just over 3,000 athletes from 204 countries will be seen in action at Nanjing during the second edition of the Youth Olympics, which was introduced four years ago in Singapore.

Cambodia’s Sam Sothea did the country proud back in 2010 by winning a bronze medal in the Girls’ 44kg class judo competition.

Young reporters for Games
Currently 28 reporters have been announced to take part in the Young Reporters program for the Nanjing Games. Reporters between the ages of 18 and 24 were selected by the Continental Associations of National Olympic Committees. The contingent will include four reporters from each continent and eight from China.

As an initiative to encourage people all over the world to share in the Youth Olympic spirit, the program provides young reporters with a cross-platform journalist-training program and the opportunity for on-the-job experience in Nanjing.

The reporters will be able to work with highly qualified and renowned professionals in the fields of broadcasting, print journalism, social media and photography.

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