Cambodian fencers brought home a silver and two bronze medals from the 2018 South East Asian Fencing Federation Junior and Cadet Fencing Championships in Malaysia this week, with the national trainer claiming the success had stunned the Kingdom’s regional rivals, who he said had underestimated his team.
Grand epee trainer Sok Ang told reporters on arriving at Phnom Penh International Airport on Tuesday: “This time we finished the competition with good results and also gained a lot of experience.
“On previous occasions, some rival countries had underestimated us and thought us at the lowest level and not as strong opponents.
“However, this time round we gave the Philippine team a big surprise because they expected to be stronger than us but lost to our female athlete Chhay Linly on her way to the final.
“Indonesia and Singapore as well as the host country also hailed us as having improved a lot.
“The President of the Malaysian fencing federation even came up to me and said he will come to visit us at our training facility.”
The Cambodian Federation sent nine athletes including three women to participate in the 2018 championships, and the team won silver medal in the women’s singles category through Chhay Linly.
She beat a Philippine opponent in the last 16, then beat a Singaporean in the quarterfinal and another Singaporean in the semis before losing to an Indonesian in the final.
Cambodia also took home bronze in the women’s and men’s team categories.
Ang, who is the general-secretary of the Fencing Federation of Cambodia, described the medal haul from the Southeast Asian event as a remarkable achievement, one following the master plan set in place by the federation ahead of Cambodia hosting the Sea Games in 2023.
Translated by In Sopheng