The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has decided to send an elite squad of only eight Pentanque players to the 26th SEA Games hosted by Indonesia this November. The team of four male and four female athletes is a stark contrast to the 22-strong Petanque delegation that grabbed two gold, three silver and five bronze medals at the 2009 SEA Games in Vientiane.
Sok Mong, national petanque team coach, explained that the reason for the severe streamlining of their side was due to the omissions of triples and shooting categories for the 2011 edition. “This time there is only men and women’s singles events and men and women’s doubles events, so we had to select a lower amount of [players] to avoid any criticism [from other teams],” he said.
Two names were confirmed yesterday for the Palembang-bound squad after the first four days of trials at the National Sports Complex, with Heng Tha and Ke Leng topping the men’s and women’s lists respectively. The remaining six places will be decided on Saturday.
Ke Leng, an experienced players with many medals from women’s petanque competitions, said she was happy to be going to Indonesia but shared sympathy with her fellow competitors who were set to miss out. “It seems a bit sad for the others [not going] that used to collect medals in petanque before,” she said.
TRANSLATED BY PANN RETHEA