Returning to the SEA Games after a gap of four years, Asian Games gold medallist and Rio Olympics qualifier Sorn Seavmey has undergone intense training as her quest for +73kg gold begins on Tuesday. Her taekwondo teammates saw action on Saturday on the opening day of competition at the 2017 Kuala Lumpur edition.
On a day of mixed fortunes, Toun Navut and Sim Rachana picked up a Poomsae mixed pair bronze, but in men’s and women’s individual events, Phal Sovannat and Chhoeung Lyna suffered defeats.
Cambodia won another bronze in taekwondo after Casandre Tubbs made it to the the women’s 57kg semi-finals before losing out to to an opponent from Thailand.
Seavmey’s long-time coach Choi Yong Suk is confident that the Rio disappointment and slight injury concerns are behind her and she is as keen as ever.
Though she lost to a vastly experienced Dutch fighter in Brazil, Seavmey has an impressive Games record that may take her to golden heights in Malysia.
“I am so excited to be here finally. Missing Singapore two years ago makes it look like its a long time since I competed in the Games. I feel like a newcomer,” Seavmey said after checking into the team’s Sunway Putra hotel on Thursday.
Top-seeded Luksika Kumkhum of Thailand won the women’s tennis singles title in the SEA Games after outplaying Clarice Patrimonio of the Philippines 6-0, 6-1 in the final on Saturday.
After the final, Cambodia’s Andrea Ka, who lost a close fought tie against Patrimonio in the semis 6-7, 6-7, collected her bronze medal, the Kingdom’s first in women’s tennis.
Bronze in men’s petanque
There was no cheer in the swimming pool for Cambodia as Hemthon Vitiny and Hemthon Ponloue failed to qualify in their events.
Even as Cambodia celebrated the women’s doubles gold won by Ke Leng and Ouk Sreymom from the boules alley, the men’s petanque triples team of Heng Tha, Nhem Bora, Thong Chhoeun and Ya Chandararith were beaten in the semifinals, giving them only a bronze medal.
After three defeats and one win in the group stage, Cambodia finished the Games basketball campaign with a 94-61 win over Myanmar in a playoff to determine seventh place. In 2013 and 2015 Cambodia finished sixth.
Cambodia’s leading scorer Sopheen Toun compiled another double digit score with 24 points as Pek Mith (22) and Dominic Dar (21) provided excellent support.
Cambodian ice skaters Bunthoeurn Sen and Panha Khiev finished down the order in eighth and ninth on their debuts, but the pair clearly hold the promise of better performances in the future.
Considering the limited time they had for practice and lack of training facilities, the skaters were far from disgraced, though they tailed the field of nine from five countries.
Multiple SEA Games football winners Thailand and Malaysia are set to meet in the final on Tuesday for the much coveted gold medal as they both edged 1-0 wins in tension packed semifinals on Saturday.
A sellout crowd of nearly 60,000 saw Malaysia produce an 87th-minute goal from striker N Thanabalan to beat Indonesia 1-0 at Shah Alam Stadium.
Thailand captain Samhaodi struck deep into stoppage time at the MP Selayang Stadium to down Myanmar in what was a repeat of their famous final clash in the 2015 edition in Singapore, which the Thais conclusively won 3-0.
While Thailand will be seeking their 16h title, Malaysia will be aiming for their seventh when the final kicks off on Tuesday at 7:45pm Cambodian time.