An Olympic wrestler in his youth, Vath Chamroeun, the secretary-general of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, now has a seventh dan to add to his black belt after being awarded it by Japan’s International FSA Karate Kenshinkan Organisation.
The rare award was certified by Takeyuki Hayama, the director of the KKO, who hailed the achievement as a great tribute to Chamroeun’s passion for martial arts.
Chamroeun, now 46, was at the height of his wrestling prowess when he represented Cambodia at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta after taking intense interest in martial arts at the age of 13.
“I used to fight with eighth dan Japanese black belts to hone my technical skills, and I also demonstrated my fighting abilities against players of higher level in a tournament.
“I am greatly honoured that the KKO has now given me this black belt,” Chamroeun told the Post yesterday.
He also has a second dan in judo and trained in Khmer martial arts between 1987 and 1989. As well as his NOCC role, he heads the Cambodian Mixed Martial Arts Federation.