Cambodia’s mixed multi-weapon team secured a gold medal, the Kingdom’s third overall and second in vovinam as the trio of Pal Chhorraksmy, Prak Vanny and Ly Boramy produced a stunning performance at the 26th SEA Games in Indonesia yesterday.
The Vietnamese martial art of Vovinam, which Cambodia has embraced with great success, continued to bring more good tidings as the men’s double weapons team of Chin Piseth and Chrin Bunlong landed a silver medal. The mixed pair of Ly Boramy and Pal Chhorraksmy were distinctly unlucky in their event going down narrowly in the final to settle for a silver.
On a day which saw Vy Srey Khouch (women’s 55kg) and Mao Monith (women’s 50kg) add a bronze medal each to the tally, Cambodia’s take from the vovinam competition held at the Sunter Sport Centre in Jakarta read an impressive two golds, seven silvers and three bronze medals.
On the wrestling front, Chum Chivinn went down to Vietnam’s Nguyen Van Doc to end up with a bronze medal in the men’s 120kg Greco Roman class. This was the third bronze medal for Cambodia’s matmen at the Gedung Serbaguna Jakabaring hall in Palembang.
Across town, French-born Andrea Ka came up with a winning start to her women’s tennis singles campaign scoring a fluent 6-2, 6-4 victory over Marian Jade Capadocia of the Philippines yesterday.
After this hugely popular victory, Andrea Ka partnered Bun Kenny in the mixed doubles with the pair pulling off a 7-5, 6-3 win over the Vietnamese combination of Tran Lam Anh and Ho Huynh Dan Mach.
Only briefly in the second set of her singles did the 19-year-old Andrea feel the heat of the contest. But once she steadied herself it was plain sailing for the right hander, who is resuming competitive tennis after a self imposed break of well over a year.
Ka, whose Cambodian parents migrated to France in the mid 1970s, joined the Tennis Federation of Cambodia in the first week of September and has since been training under national coach Braen Aneiros.
“It is good to start on a winning note. She did most of the things right on the court and we hope she keeps going,” said coach Aneiros.
TFC General Secretary Tep Rithivit hailed the turnaround in the Kingdom’s tennis contingency.
“A few months ago we could think of no-one representing Cambodia in the women’s singles, but here we have Andrea Ka who has raised our expectations with the way she handled her singles and partnered Bun Kenny in the mixed doubles. We are one round away from these medals. It is a great feeling,” he said.
Cambodia’s top ranked men’s player Bun Kenny, who was forced out of the court by a sudden attack of body cramps during the team event semifinals against Indonesia's No 1 Christopher Rungkat two days ago, pulled out of the men’s doubles to concentrate on the singles and mixed doubles. Interestingly, Bun Kenny meets Rungkat in the first round today.
Meanwhile, Cambodia’s men’s doubles interest was quickly wiped out when Long Samneang and Orn Sambath lost 6-3, 7-5 to the Laotian pair of Keo Dalasouk and Lasavady Vitata.
At Palembang’s Jakabaring Sport Complex, the last traces of Cambodian interest on the track disappeared with both Kieng Samorn and Takizaki Kuniaki finishing a tame fifth in their respective events.
Kieng Samorn clocked 1:53.17 in the men’s 800m final, which was won by Vietnam’s Duong Van Thai in a time of 1:49.42. Mervin M Guarte of the Philippines finished second ahead of Indonesia’s Abdul Hais.
The Cambodian entry in the men’s marathon Takizaki Kuniaki, whose selection to the national team was overshadowed by the omission of ‘the Kingdom’s best known long distance runner Hem Bunting, could only manage a fifth place finish in a time of 2:37.39.
Taken in conjunction with Hem Bunting’s year best time of 2:31.58 at the Perth City to Surf marathon, the Japanese runner's timing was a lot slower, although had Hem Bunting reproduced his effort in Australia at yesterday’s race, he also would have missed out on the medals.
The winner of the event, Yahuza of Indonesia, timed 2:27.45 to grab the gold ahead of Eric Panique of the Philippines at 2:28.26 and compatriot Eduardo Buenavis third in 2:29.09.
At time of print, Cambodia were holding firm on their grip of eighth place in the medals table, ahead of Myanmar, who had just grabbed their first gold. Hosts Indonesia still command the lead with a glittering total of 222 medals, 87 of them gold.