Ou Ratana, president of the Cambodia Vovinam Federation (CVF), reaffirmed that the national team has been training their athletes and expects to claim a record haul of medals when the Kingdom hosts the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games for the first time in its history next year. Vovinam is a martial art that originated in Vietnam.

The three gold, two silver and nine bronze medals that they bagged at the 31st SEA Games in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi back in May were considered an outstanding achievement by the Vovinam team.

“The federation is continuing to train athletes – both our international stars and young grassroots competitors in the capital-provincial associations and clubs – to prepare for national and international competition. As of today, we have just 227 days until the SEA Games are upon us,” he said.

Ratana said the 2022 National Vovinam Championship at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) – which wrapped up its third and final day on September 19 – was an important competition that provided opportunities for athletes to develop and increase their abilities. The CVF has been told by the Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) to set their goal on winning nine gold medals for the nation.

“Officials, coaches and athletes of the federation are committed to fighting for gold medals at the SEA Games,” he said, while presiding over the closing ceremony of the nationals.

According to CVF secretary-general Yam Thaisan, 58 male and 24 female vovinam practitioners from eight clubs across Cambodia participated in the competition. They competed in a total of 19 disciplines.

The Ministry of National Defense team came in first, winning nine gold, two silver and four bronze medals, while Svay Rieng Vovinam Sports Club came in second with a gold medal, two silver and three bronze. The Ministry of Interior Club ranked 3rd with two gold, three silver and one bronze. Each of the clubs participating in the competition took home at least one medal.

After the three days of intense competition, Thaisan claimed that there were some outstanding performances from many new athletes, and he looked forward to seeing them compete at next year’s games.

“The federation is always looking for new athletes with talent and who have the ability to compete at the international level. Our referees and technical officials have also shown that they are capable of officiating a large-scale competition – like our 3rd National Games scheduled for this November and, of course, the SEA Games,” he said.

Bou Chumserey, vice-secretary of state of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, also praised the vovinam team’s progress.

“We commend the efforts of the CVF in developing this sport to grow and succeed in competition,” he said.

“This national competition was an invaluable experience and will allow [CAMSOC] to draw on the expertise of the federation to organise next year’s games. It was also a great way to identify future stars of the sport and assess the form of our athletes,” he added.