Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - From orphanages to the 2017 SEA Games




From orphanages to the 2017 SEA Games

Ho Sreynoch (left) and Hour Sreypov pose for photos at the Future Stars event in Singapore in 2015. Photo supplied
Ho Sreynoch (left) and Hour Sreypov pose for photos at the Future Stars event in Singapore in 2015. Photo supplied

From orphanages to the 2017 SEA Games

Picking up tennis in lessons at the two different orphanages they were growing up in, teenage girls Hour Sreypov and Ho Sreynoch had no idea that one day they would be representing Cambodia in a major event like the SEA Games.

That moment has arrived.

Sreypov and Sreynoch are part of the four-member national women’s tennis team that is set to compete at the 29th SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.

“It is a life-changing experience for the girls, and a great inspiration for the hundreds in our tennis development programmes,” said secretary-general of Tennis Cambodia Tep Rithivit.

“They are the prime examples of the success we have achieved in creating a pathway for our young players in Cambodia to disprove widely held notion that tennis is for the rich and famous. It is for the talented and hardworking,” he said.

Younger than Sreypov by one year, 16-year-old Sreynoch was taken in when she was 5 by Sunrise Children’s Village in Takhmao near Phnom Penh after her single mother was unable to support her. She began her tennis at 8 and has never stopped since.

The bubbly Sreynoch strikes a sharp contrast with the calm and reserved Sreypov. Born in Kampong Cham, Sreypov, much like Sreynoch, grew up for a while under the care of her single mother before being moved to the Holy Baby Orphanage in Kandal province at the age of 5.

When Tennis Cambodia’s grassroots programme was launched at the orphanage in 2011, Sreypov, 11 years old then, was among the keenest to learn. It showed a few years later when she began to assert herself and remained unbeaten in events in her age category for nearly two years.

The two girls were thrilled when they were selected to represent Cambodia at the Future Stars event in Singapore on the sidelines of the year ending multimillion-dollar WTA finals two years ago.

Everything happening around them in Singapore was a like dream for the young pair. Though they were ultimately unsuccessful against the stronger players they ran into, off court they had unforgettable experiences, including a seat to watch an exciting three-set win by Maria Sharapova over Agnieszka Radwanska, two of the world’s leading players at the time.

More thrills were in store when Sreypov received a Yonex racquet autographed by Germany’s Angelique Kerber and Sreynoch a Wilson from Chan Hao Ching of China.

Clearly motivated by that unique opportunity to mix with players from various countries and watch some of the best in the world train and compete, Sreypov and Sreynoch have strengthened their own resolve to do well.

French born-Cambodian Andrea Ka, who has taken Cambodian women’s tennis to new heights having reached a career-high ranking of 520 in the world will lead the team in Malaysia, with American-born Cambodian Som Chhinda from Rochester, New York, completing the line-up.

Andrea and Chhinda created history two years ago as the first set of Cambodian female players to represent the country as a team at the Singapore SEA Games. The addition of Sreypov and Sreynoch will add another layer of excitement this year.

MOST VIEWED

  • ADB says Kingdom to lose 390,000 jobs

    The Asian Development Bank (ADB) predicts Cambodia will suffer 390,000 job losses this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But it congratulated the government for its response to the crisis and its cash transfer programme for the poor and vulnerable. Last Wednesday, the ADB approved a $250

  • Fish with human-like teeth makes splash

    An image of a fish of the family Balistidae with human-like features made its rounds on social media after a Twitter user snapped a photo of his catch in Malaysia. The original post has received 675 comments, 8,200 retweets and more than 14,000 likes as of Tuesday. Astonishing

  • Gov’t not using EU aid for poor

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday refuted as “baseless”, claims that the government had used financial aid from the EU to implement the programme to identify and support poor and vulnerable people during the Covid-19 pandemic. The prime minister was responding to Roth Sothy, a

  • Royal Group inks $35 million road deal on Koh Rong

    Royal Group Koh Rong Development Company and Sinohydro Corporation Limited reached a $35 million deal on Tuesday to build a 70km road on Koh Rong Island. The road will be 8m wide and is expected to take 16 months to complete, according to the plan approved by

  • Thai fence said to prevent illegal crossing

    Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provincial police say Thailand is not invading Cambodia after a series of social media posts about fences being built on the border raised alarms. Banteay Meanchey police chief Ath Khem said on Tuesday the information on social media on Sunday and

  • Nine more students from Saudi Covid-19 positive

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said preventing the spread of Covid-19 depends on each citizen. He expressed concern that the pandemic will continue for longer. Hun Sen said this after nine Cambodian students who recently returned to the Kingdom from Saudi Arabia were found to be

  • PM to vet NY holiday dates

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance submitted a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking him to formally set a five-day national holiday from August 17-21 to make up for the Khmer New Year holiday in April that was postponed. Finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth sent

  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post