THE Cambodian Judo Federation (CJF) is to send four athletes – or judokas – to the 2009 Southeast Asian Games, held in Vientiane starting officially on December 9.
According to Lach Vuthy, general secretary of the CJF, the kingdom has seven judokas on its national team, five men and two women, from which it chose its four delegates. The secretary says the team has prepared well for the upcoming event, despite missing out on the opportunity to train abroad like other Cambodian athletes.
“The players have trained regularly every evening from 5pm to 7pm,” said Lach Vuthy. “They always hold competitions among themselves to test their performance. We hope for success, but we find it difficult to predict the result because our opponents will also try their best.”
Chim Keo will compete in the men’s 55kg category, while Kim Sarom will vie for the 60kg title and Chou Sok Mean takes on the 66kg division. Sam Sothea, the only female jodoka, will battle in the 45kg weight class.
The Kingdom is not expected to win any medals in Judo at the SEA Games next month, with the only previous medal being bronze at the 1997 Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. In 2003, Cambodia won one gold, one silver and one bronze at a regional tournament in Vietnam.
Sam Sothea bagged a silver medal at a regional judo tournament organised for the first time in Cambodia in 2006, which saw participation from all other ASEAN nations except Brunei and East Timor. The three men heading to the SEA Games won golds in different categories at this year’s national championships.