The First Junior and Senior Southeast Asian ITF Taekwondo Championships, held at Phnom Penh’s National Sport Complex wrapped up yesterday, with Cambodian athletes putting in a dominant showing, taking 31 of the 38 gold medals on offer.
The general-secretary of the Cambodia Taekwondo ITF Federation, Buon Hingsothiya, referred to the tournament as a “historic” sporting event in Cambodia.
He said during the closing ceremony: “The event went very smoothly and finished successfully. This is a historic event in our country, particularly for our athletes, whose medal haul far exceeded expectations.”
He added: “The judges selected for the event were from Malaysia and Indonesia to make the competition transparent and fair, which was agreed by the participating countries.”
Seven nations from the region took part in the two-day competition, with Cambodia winning 31 gold, 10 silver and 11 bronze medals, while Malaysia collected five golds, 11 silvers and 17 bronzes. Vietnam grabbed one gold, 13 silver and 15 bronze medals.
Singapore brought home one gold, three silver and six bronze medals, and Thailand one silver and seven bronze medals. The Philippines and Indonesia did not send athletes, with only their delegates attending.
The spectacular success comes with the rise of Cambodia’s taekwondo star Sorn Seavmey, who won gold at the 2013 SEA Games and the Asian Games the following year, and who qualified for this year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.