As widely anticipated, Cambodia’s Khun Khmer fighters stamped their mark on the muay kickboxing competition with four of the five entering the ring yesterday storming into the semifinals as Cassandra Tubbs picked up a taekwondo bronze from the women’s 57kg category ahead of Sorn Seavmey’s gold quest on Tuesday at the ongoing SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.
Van Vouen set the pace for his teammates as he overcame his Singaporean rival on Saturday to enter the men’s 54kg semifinals, where he will take on Malaysia’s Mohd Ali today at 1pm Cambodian time.
At about the same time the other three Cambodians will also be in action at the spacious Hall 8 in the MiTEC arena.
In the men’s 57kg, Lao Chetra produced a strong performance in the preliminaries on Saturday to gain a last-four place. He will be up against another local challenger in Ain, who is bound to get the crowd behind him.
The day’s most impressive winner was Khun Dima in the 63.5kg category as he silenced a vociferous crowd rooting for Malaysia’s Mohd Amirul. Undaunted by the noisy home fans, the Cambodians in the crowd kept cheering Dima as he wore down his rival 30-27.
Dima will square off against strongly fancied Philippine medal hope Ryan Jakiri.
Cambodia’s final success of the evening came in the men’s 71kg class where Meun Sophea will now challenge Malaysia’s Muhammad Samsi in their semi. In the quarterfinals, Sophea overcame Jalu Aji Darma Sus of Indonesia.
The only casualty in the preliminaries was Meun Sokhuch who lost to Thailand’s Mana Samchaiyaphum in the 67kg class.