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Cambodians in China camp for Asiad bow

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Heang Sunheng and Soth Mesa pose with 2016 Olympic women’s RSX silver medallist Chen Peina in Guangdong. Supplied

Cambodians in China camp for Asiad bow

Cambodia’s fast-improving windsurfers Heang Sunheng and Soth Mesa have been going through a rigorous training regimen with some of the best from Singapore at a two-month camp in the Chinese province of Guangdong ahead of August’s Asian Games in Indonesia.

The Siem Ream-based teenagers are working on their physical fitness and wind-harnessing skills in the RSX class under the watch of elite coaches with a Guangdong team that has been producing world-class sailors.

The RSX class is without doubt the most athletically demanding event and the equipment is the most technical and high performance of any current Olympic class, racing in wind speeds of three to 30 knots and capable of speeds exceeding 35 knots.

Regarded as the pinnacle of the sport, it is called RSX because of its bigger sail and wider board equipment. For the two Cambodian talents it is a unique experience pitching into this category.

While the camp in China will shape their futures, the sad part of the ongoing advanced training is that at the end of it only one of them can represent Cambodia at the Asiad.

Friends on shore are now competing with each other for that illustrious spot.

“It is a healthy rivalry between them. Both will be rewarded from the experience of learning from some of the best, but one of them will have to face the disappointment of being left out,” said Singapore’s Meng Wang, an adviser to the Cambodian Sailing Federation.

Along with Sunheng and Mesa, the CSF has also sent promising windsurfer Pal Seyla to train with the B team in Guangdong so that he can improve his fitness and skills.

CSF secretary-general Som Sothrithypong will be leading the trio until the end of the camp in early August.

CSF president Gordon Tang has contributed in a big way by financing the purchase of the special RSX equipment for the two Cambodian Asian Games hopefuls, as well as covering the expenses of all the three sailors in China. The CSF chief has also gone the extra mile by sponsoring the training expenses of the entire Singaporean team as well.

“The only way to improve is to train in China, which has been producing world-class windsurfers consistently.

“With the right training and environment, I expect good results in near future,” Tang told The Post.

“Training with the Guangdong team, which has top-notch performers including the 2016 Rio Olympics RSX women’s silver medalist and the current men’s and women’s world champions, our boys will benefit greatly from this experience,” said CSF vice president Rathasak Thong, son of National Olympic Committee of Cambodia president Thong Khon.

“Sunheng, Mesa and Seyla can observe, practice and learn from these outstanding windsurfers. It will boost their morale and get them ready for stiffer competition,” Thong added.

Sunheng and Mesa won silver and bronze medals at the Johor Regatta this year, and Mesa picked up a bronze from an event in Pattaya.

According to experts,the RSX class is the most suitable Olympic equipment, meeting in all respects the objectives set by a World Sailing Olympic report.

The introduction of the RSX Convertible offers a smooth transition to the next generation of foiling boards.

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