The Cambodian junior women’s team (left) – consisting of Sow Sokhim, Phan Sopheak and Veas Sorphon – line up on the podium after claiming silver in the 2nd Asian Aerobic Gymnastic Championships held in Ho Chi Minh City over the weekend. Photo Supplied
THE seven-member Cambodian Aerobic Gymnastics team returned home from the 2nd Asian Championships in Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday with their heads held high after markedly better performances than last year. The squad brought back an individual bronze medal and team silver medals.
The two day event boasted an athletic assembly of 93 gymnasts – including many world championship medalists – from 11 countries such as China, Japan, India and South Korea.
Talented local gymnast Sow Sokhim stayed resolutely in the hunt for medals, before being edged out to the bronze position by decidedly stronger Vietnamese and Mongolian rivals.
Meanwhile, the Cambodian junior women’s team produced their all time best display to pick up a silver medal much to the delight of head coach Noy Phana, who said four years of training together had helped the girls to near perfect coordination and timing.
There was also cheer for the Kingdom in the junior men’s section when Nget Veasna landed an excellent execution score, only for superior performances by Japanese and Vietnamese gymnasts to push him out off the podium into fourth in his debut international event.
For 15-year-old Veas Sarith, the tournament was an eye-opening experience. The teenager came into the championship as a total stranger to sprung wooden floors, and he took time to adjust to the surface.
In the fiercely competitive senior men’s individual category, Sow Sopheng managed good execution and artistic scores, but his difficulty level let him down amongst a field that had ten different countries represented.
The senior men’s team trio of Sopheng, Sarith and Sum Srorn placed eighth out of ten ahead of Vietnam and the Philippines, with Srorn’s injury to his Achilles tendon limiting their effort.
Head coach Noy Phana took promise from the improvements in results.
“Overall I am happy that every competitor managed to score better than last year, and it should boost our morale in next year’s SEA Games in Indonesia where we have a good chance of picking up some medals,” he said.
However, the team is clearly disadvantaged by the absence of an international judge and a sprung floor at their home facility.