Following Sunday’s conclusion of 199 bouts featuring 180 male and 20 female participants, National Police Commissary Club took top team honours at the 2012 Cambodian National Youth Wrestling Championships, held in the Dambol Touk indoor hall of the National Sports Complex.
The Police squad, backed by the Ministry of Interior and comprising practically the entire national team, made a clean sweep of all seven of the golds on offer in the men’s and women’s weight classes.
However, Kandal province’s Vihear Sour Club were masters of the mat in the junior boys division, accounting for three of the four golds up for grabs.
Chhean Mao of Kampong Cham’s Svay Po Club won the only remaining title in the 53kg category for 15 to 17-year-old boys.
The Police Club, more commonly referred to as the Interior team, were awarded US$300 as best club, while Vihear Sour took home $200 and Svay Po $100.
National wrestling team coach Thin Vichet and Wrestling Federation of Cambodia (WFC) official Hok Chheang Kim hailed the efforts of all competitors and gave thanks to event sponsor and co-organiser Casey Barnett, who had donated US$10,000 of his own money to help host the three-day tournament.
Barnett, managing director of CamEd business school, said he was happy to see smiles of pride exhibited by the successful wrestlers.
“When they go back home they can show their medals to friends and families,” he said.
The sponsor pledged to support the 2013 edition with the hope that numbers would increase to 500 over the next five years. “In 10 years, I want Cambodia to have wrestling clubs in all provinces and cities,” he added.
The ancient Cambodian martial art of Bokator, which shares some of its styles with wrestling, has enjoyed a rapid rise in popularity in the Kingdom, and Barnett hopes to nurture a strong relationship between the two federations.
Additional sponsorship came from WFC President Chhim Chuon, who is also deputy general secretary of the Ministry of Interior and who presided over the awards ceremony, as well as WFC Vice President Sim Touch, and David Khem, Vice President and Marketing and Communications Manager of PRASAC micro-finance institution.