Half of the Cambodian quartet of athletes have failed to make it past the first round of their events at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.
Som Samphors competed in the 3,000 metres race yesterday morning, finished in a time of 10 minutes 16 seconds to place 20th out of 23 ahead of athletes from Timor Leste, Djibouti and Mauritania. Meanwhile in the swimming pool yesterday, medal hopeful Lim Odam came 45th out of 52 athletes in the 50 metres freestyle. Odam had swum a personal best of 29:14 seconds, slashing three seconds off his previous record.
Despite the disappointing early exits, National Olympic Committee of Cambodia Secretary General Vath Chamroeun heaped praise on the Kingdom’s delegates and cited a lack of preparation for their poor showings. The Cambodians had just three months to train for the event, compared with years of tutoring for the other competitors.
Vath Chamroeun, who returned from Singapore Monday with NOCC President Thong Khon after they attended Sunday’s opening ceremony, revealed that the gap in class between the developing and developed nations was down to the long-term sports programmes established by the latter. He also expressed his hope that valuable lessons would be learned from the Kingdom’s participation in the inaugural edition of the Youth Olympic Games.
Photo by: Nhan Sokvisal /NOCC
Swimmers including Cambodia’s Lim Odam line up before competing in their 50m freestyle heat at the Youth Olympic Games.
“Our athletes [Samphor and Odam] did well despite failing to get past the first round in their respective events,” said the sports official. “But we are proud of them for their participation and for flying the Kingdom’s flag.
“The level of performance of the athletes on show in the YOG was quite high to the surprise of the IOC,” he added.
Vath Chamrouen also lauded the performance of Asean teams in the Games so far, with results showing youths from the region had done better than some other regions and sub-continents.
The two other Cambodian athletes, wrestler Chab Sokneang and Judoka Sam Sothea, will take to the mats this Saturday in the Kingdom’s last chance for laurels from the Youth Olympic Games.