Cambodia topped the medals tally with 36 golds, 35 silver and 64 bronze among a dozen countries at the end of the three-day Asian Kukkiwon Taekwondo Hanmadang 2017 in Phnom Penh at the weekend.
Though a festive aura surrounded the event Cambodia hosted for the first time at the Olympic Stadium indoor arena, competition among nearly 700 fighters in the age groups of 12 to 50 was fierce.
The festival marked the Korean fighting art’s spectacular growth in the Kingdom over the past few years on the back of Sorn Seavmey’s Asian Games Gold medal and Rio Olympic qualification, on the top of her recent SEA Games glory in Kuala Lumpur.
As many as 25 clubs from the capital and other major cities sent out nearly 550 contestants and those big numbers eventually pushed Cambodia’s medals count to 135 as the top nation at the festival.
Asia Euro University stood out among local clubs, picking up eight medals including three gold.
Vietnam finished with 11 golds, four silvers and two bronze medals, while Malaysia accounted for seven gold, 12 silver and 13 bronze.
The Himalayan kingdom of Nepal staged the event last year and after Cambodia’s turn the event will move to Thailand in 2018.
“Despite the festival look, the competition was quite intense. It was a great opportunity for our young fighters to mix with and compete against some of the best from the Asian region,”
said Choi Yong Sok who has mentored hundreds of Cambodian youngsters during a glittering 20-year coaching career headlined by Seavmey’s spectacular rise to world fame.
Competitions were held in 66 categories – 45 individual and 21 team events. There were also several demonstration events.
The festival was supported by the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport, National Olympic Committee of Cambodia and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Cambodia.
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