Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodians ready to set sail



Cambodians ready to set sail

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Cambodian sailing team support staff prepare a sail at the 2018 Asian Games sailing venue in Indonesia. AFP

Cambodians ready to set sail

Tje three members Cambodian sailing team are ready for their Asian Games bow on Friday in Jakarta Bay for the first of the 12 scheduled races spread over six days in search of at least a medal or two in a sport that has grown rapidly in the Kingdom over the past three years.

After Thursday’s team leaders’ meeting in the morning and a practice race later in the day, the competition, which serves as a qualification event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in certain categories, will also see the end of the Olympic RSX-class era after Paris 2024 announced it won’t be included.

From the Cambodian perspective, 16-year-old Soth Mesa, who has been training hard under elite Chinese coaches in the company of some of the best sailors in China since May, harnessing the wind on a newly purchased RSX as the first from the Kingdom will be an unforgettable experience of his life.

The teenager from Ream, near Sihanoukville, sat out as a reserve at last year’s SEA Games in Malaysia, but his transformation from being an energetic raw talent into an adventurous and skilful sailor has now thrust him to the forefront as the prime choice ahead of his friend and teammate Heng Heang, who also did the long stint in China with Mesa.

“When we visited Haiman Water Training Base in Shantou, Guangdong, a few months ago we were happy to learn that the CSF team had also been invited for a three week training with top-notch Chinese sailors at the Guangdong Ocean Center in Shanwei. We were thrilled. and the results since have been amazing,” said Singaporean CSF advisor Meng Wang.

‘Sky is the limit’

“Our boys are fortunate to be in such esteemed company and train with members of the Chinese national team. The feedback has been very encouraging. I am looking forward to Cambodia’s grand debut in sailing at these Asian Games,” said CSF President Gordon Tang, who has gone several nautical miles extra to ensure that the team receiving the best of everything including equipment and care.

“I hope our sailors strive hard and present themselves as good ambassadors for Cambodia, while inspiring hundreds of others back home to promote this glorious sport. I believe that the sky is the limit for our boys.

“We have tried our best to give them everything they need,” added Tang, who is also vice-president of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC).

Aside from footing the enormous cost of training abroad, the CSF chief has also invested heavily in purchasing quality equipment, including a brand new RSX windsurfing board with these Asian Games in mind.

“To improve sailing in Cambodia, we need to give our sailors exposure at the highest levels of competition. Coupled with overseas training and inviting world-class coaches, the CSF will also be pushing hard to catch up with some of the regional powerhouses like Thailand and Singapore,” said Rathasak Thon, vice-president of the CSF and son of NOCC president Thong Khon.

“Hopefully we can cause some positive ripples at the Ancol Marina and grab the attention of the world as a fast emerging nation that has done wonders in just the three years since the federation was formed and with World Sailing recognition obtained less than a year ago,” Rathasak Thon said.

While the Focus of attention will be Mesa and his RSX, Duch Bunthuoeun, a naval officer at the Ream base, will be competing in the Laser Standard.

During his month-long stint in Malaysia he managed to place third at the KFC-MCC Sarawak Open Regatta in Malaysia. His positive attitude and discipline have been counted as his strongest assets.

Relatively inexperienced Nhov Chan earned a place in the team for his courage and natural flair for sailing.

The CSF’s greatest ambition, as reflected by its president’s repeated calls, is for the team to uphold the dignity of the country and hopefully see one of them qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Hun Sen: Manet to be candidate for prime minister

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has reaffirmed that his oldest son Hun Manet will be his successor as Prime Minister if he is elected. Speaking during the inauguration of a new sewage treatment facility in Preah Sihanouk province on December 2, Hun Sen said Manet will be

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied