Cambodia will be represented by a seven-member delegation headed by chef de mission Nhan Sokvisal at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Argentina from October 6-18.
Three athletes and three coaches will be aiming to emulate the bronze-winning efforts of female judoka Sam Sothea in the 44kg class at the inaugural edition in Singapore eight years ago.
Swimmer Cheng Sopha and two female teammates, sprinter Viriyak Vatey and wrestler Dorn Srey Mao, were part of the six-member squad that returned empty-handed from the 2014 Nanjing Games in China.
The three competitors heading to Argentina include promising swimmer Poepchira Bunna, under the care of former Olympian and Asian Games contestant and multiple SEA Games participant Hemthon Puloe.
Female wrestler Sim Sopealai is coached by Thin Vichet, while fast emerging badminton hope Vath Vannthoun is being put through his paces by Malaysian coach Kogilavannan.
As Cambodia had no qualifiers, all three places were filled through the International Olympic Committee’s universality placements. The selection of the disciplines was also determined by the IOC and the international federations.
According to Visal, a wild card was available in taekwondo but the Kingdom had to let it pass as a fighter who could fit into the weight category provided by the international federation was not available.
‘Important building block’
NOCC secretary-general Vath Chamroeun said: “In the wake of our unprecedented success in the Asian Games last month, we hope these youngsters can bring us some good results and do us proud like Sam Sothea did against all odds and expectations in Singapore eight years ago.”
“It is an important building block in our efforts to improve the competitive standards of our athletes, and it will be a unique experience for these youngsters to compete with their peers from around the world.”
Four new sports will be introduced at the Olympic level. They are sport climbing, dance sport, karate and roller sports, while 28 other disciplines that were contested in Nanjing have been retained.
Being organised under the motto “Feel the Future”, the Games will see up to 4,000 participants from 206 nations.
This will be the first Summer Youth Olympic Games to be held outside of Asia, and the first either Summer or Winter Games to be held outside of Asia or Europe.