Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kun Khmer fighters hope to equal kickboxers, despite impartial judging panel concerns



Kun Khmer fighters hope to equal kickboxers, despite impartial judging panel concerns

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Cambodian kickboxer Beut Sangkheum lands a kick on Malaysian Sea Wei Sheng in their semi-final bout, ahead of going on to claim gold. CAMSOC

Kun Khmer fighters hope to equal kickboxers, despite impartial judging panel concerns

The Cambodian national boxing team will begin competing in their respective weight categories at the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) on May 18. Four boxers have already booked places in the semi-finals via bye berths, meaning they are guaranteed to return to the Kingdom with at least bronze.

The leaders of the Khmer Boxing Federation expect more than bronze from their team, saying that at least one gold should be within their grasp. The team brought home gold at the 2017 Malaysian SEA Games. They also had one eye on the Cambodian kickboxing teams’ performance at the current games. The kickboxers have just completed their campaign, winning one gold medal through Touch Rachhan, better known as Beut Sangkheum, as well as three silver and one bronze.

Huot Sengtry, vice-president of the federation who is alongside his team in Vietnam, said: “This year, our national team has been training hard. We trained really hard in Cambodia and arrived in Vietnam early on May 14 to acclimatise ourselves with the weather and the environment. We hope to make history and claim more medals, like our kickboxing brothers.”

“We do not know for sure how many medals we will get, but we will give it our absolute all,” added the head of the Khmer boxing national delegation.

Through the draw of the “Muay” event at the games, five Kun Khmer boxers were all fortunate to be automatically given places in the semi-finals.

Thanks to the results of the draw, it is guaranteed that the five already have bronze medals in their hands. However, the opponents they have to face in the semi-finals are mostly Thai fighters. Vy Srey Chhay, Tuon Srey Pin and Sam Samnang will meet Thai boxers, while Rom Samnang will clash with a boxer from host nation Vietnam. Mey Sing will square off against his Malaysian counterpart.

In the first matches of May 18, however, Cha Chandeng will face Thai Kullanat Aonok in the under-48kg category, while Sok Rith will meet Vietnam’s Huynh Hoang Phi in the under-54kg, then Khun Bora will battle Malaysian Kabilan Jelevan in the under-60kg division.

In the May 19 qualifying matches scheduled for fighters from Cambodia, Van Voeun drew a Vietnamese opponent and Pov Phearith will fight a boxer from the Philippines.

The matchups against Thai and Vietnamese boxers have left fans worried about the judging, as they suspect favouritism may be shown to Thailand, where Muay originated. In the past, they have often claimed a visable bias towards Thailand and Vietnam, especially the host nation.

“I have attended meetings between the team leaders from all participating countries and the International Muay Thai Technical Committee of the International Muay Thai Federation. The federation is not governed by the Thai governing body but the British, with some technical officers from other countries. Cambodia also has two referees who will participate as international judges in this competition,” said Sengtry.

However, the Cambodian federation vice-president remains concerned about the judges, adding: “There are multi-national officials involved in organising the games and we do not know whether they will be biased or give any advantage to the hosts. We cannot conclude in advance, but from what the Muay committee has told me, I don’t think it will happen like it did in kickboxing.”

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro