Cambodia’s Khom Rattanak Mony (R) trains with a sparring partner at the Dojo Brestois in Brest, France. The judoka will compete at the London Games. Photograph: supplied
SEA Games silver-medal judoka Khom Rattanak Mony says he was as surprised as anyone to get a call-up from the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia to attend the London Games, but seems undaunted by the prospect of carrying a distinct lack of experience into the competition.
“Honestly, I wasn’t preparing for the Olympics, but due to the initiative of [NOCC secretary-seneral] Vath Chamroeun and [NOCC adviser] Gabriel Ken Gadaffi, I could get the wild card for joining the London Olympic Games,” the 29-year-old told the Post from his base in Brest, France.
On June 14, the International Olympic Committee granted a Tripartite Commission Invitation Place to the judoka, who goes by Mony, after the NOCC lodged an application.
Mony noted how new he was to international judo championships but said he hoped for a generous draw in the men’s under-60-kilogram event in London, which will be run on July 28.
“I don’t really know much about competitors in my category. If it is possible, I wish to avoid the strongest judokas. I don’t think I will be able to beat anyone, but I will do my best,” he said.
Mony, who grew up in Phnom Penh with father Lim Sokhom and mother Khom Rattanak Sieng, was introduced to judo by a classmate when he was 14 years old.
Having emigrated to Brest, he trains under esteemed French coaches Philippe Urvoy (5th Dan) and Claude Urvoy (9th Dan) at the Dojo Brestois, although he has not forgotten the tutelage of Cambodian coaches including national team coach Lach Vuthy, Nuth Hua, Chan Narenn and Chan Chian.
Lach Vuthy, together with the NOCC, took Mony to Jakarta for the 2011 SEA Games, where he won silver in the 50-55 kilogram men’s division.
This remains his only distinction in international competition.
Mony says he is looking forward to a welcome break after his performance in London, claiming he hasn’t had any time off since the beginning of this year because of judo, school and work commitments.
He names his sporting heroes as Japanese judo legends Yasuhiro Yamashita and Koga Tashihiko, who won gold medals at the 1984 and 1992 Olympics respectively.
To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Riley at [email protected]