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Rachhan ‘nervous’ before taking Kingdom’s first gold

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Cambodian kickboxer Touch Rachhan smiles on the podium after being awarded a gold medal at the ongoing 31st SEA Games in Vietnam on Friday. CAMSOC

Rachhan ‘nervous’ before taking Kingdom’s first gold

Top Cambodian boxer Touch Rachhan – better known as Beut Sangkheum – recounted how nervous he was ahead of his May 13 gold medal kickboxing match at the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.

Although he defeated Thai fighter Arunno Sivapan 3-0 in all three rounds in the bout, Sangkheum said – after winning the gold medal in the men’s 57kg category – that the match was difficult and he had been a “bundle of nerves” ahead of it.

“I had a hard time during the match because he kicked well. In the third round, I was a little concerned, because the team was encouraging me to keep attacking him, and time was almost up. However, it worked! To win a gold medal at the SEA Games has been a dream of mine for a long time, so I am very excited,” said the gold medalist.

With this first major victory under his belt, Kun Khmer boxer Sangkeum is determined to work harder and win more gold when Cambodia hosts the 2023 SEA Games.

“In the future, I can promise that I will do even better. I will do my absolute best to win more medals for the Kingdom when we host the 2023 games,” he said.

In addition to his gold, four other Cambodian kickboxers also won their first medals for the nation. Kan Meng Hong won silver after losing to Thai Sungnoi Chaiwat in the men’s 54kg class and Chhoeung Lvei also took silver after he lost to Thai Thongchai Thapphi in the 71kg final.

Lon Panha went down to Vietnam’s Nguyen The Huong in the men’s 67kg final and claimed silver, while Son Rakim will come home with a bronze after losing to Thai Santidongsakun Chaleamlap in the semi-finals.

Phorn Sophean and Chao Samrech also won bronze in the M2X men’s doubles rowing competition on the morning of May 11, and on Friday Sok Chanmean and Uk Srey Mom won bronze medals in men’s and women’s petanque events. Nop Chhalika and Heang Vicheny also finished with bronze medals after they lost 13-5 to Vietnam’s top team in the semi-finals of the women’s doubles pointing and shooting on Sunday.

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