One of the Kingdom’s most successful long distance runners Hem Bunting is facing serious charges of indiscipline on and off the track at the recent Guangzhou Asian Games, prompting the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia to open a detailed enquiry.
The NOCC Disciplinary Committee is awaiting a report from the Leader of the Cambodian delegation at the games over specific complaints that Hem Bunting brought disrepute to the spirit of the competition by deliberately dropping out of the marathon early, failing to start for the 10,000 and staying away from both the opening and closing ceremonies without official sanction.
The 25-year-old Bunting, who is the only Cambodian to win the Angkor Wat Half marathon, is also said to have left China for home on his own without seeking permission.
The running specialist, who has represented the country in several international events, picked up a silver medal in the Men’s Marathon and a bronze in the 5,000m at the 2007 SEA Games in Bangkok. He is generally regarded as the Kingdom’s best distance runner.
“Bunting’s actions were tantamount to behaviour unbecoming of a true sportsman and disrespectful to the national spirit,” said NOCC General Secretary Vath Chamroeun. “We are contemplating action once we get the report from the head of our delegation. It will be placed before the Athletics Federation first and will also be taken up by the NOCC.”
The athlete, for his part, has so far been silent on his version of events. Hem Bunting’s coach Phy Sok, who refused to be drawn into a discussion, said while he was at a loss to explain the athlete’s actions, he was convinced that it would be very difficult to find another runner of his class and capability.
“We do not know what exactly he was thinking or [why he] ended up doing what he did unless he himself comes up with an explanation,” added Vath Chamroeun. The NOCC argument is that, no matter how big an athlete might be, indiscipline of any sort would never be condoned.
In other local sports news, Cambodia is sending both of its Guangzhou Asian Games beach volleyball teams to the 2nd Asian Beach Games in Muscat, Oman held from December 8 to 16. The players include Mon Rom, Nget Sothearith, Samath Vannsak and Taing Mengheak. The Cambodian teams mustered just a single victory over Timor Leste in the group phase of their competition in Guangzhou.