The Cambodia Vovinam Federation, lauded their success at the 32nd SEA Games hosted by the Kingdom.


In the four days of the Vovinam competition, Team Cambodia claimed an astonishing 27 medals, 10 of them gold. 

The record haul included remarkable performances by veteran Vovinam proponents Pal Chhor Raksmey and Pov Sokha, who claimed 11 medals between them.

The team’s incredible run propelled them to the top of the Vovinam medal table, where they remained. With 10 gold, eight silver and nine bronze medals, Team Cambodia saw off second-placed Vietnam – where the sport originated – who claimed seven gold, 12 silver medals and a bronze.

The Thai vovinam team placed third, with five gold, three silver and eight bronze, followed by Myanmar, who won four gold, three silver and 17 bronze medals. Indonesia took three gold, one silver and one bronze medal, with Laos claiming one gold, one silver and five bronze and the Philippines earning two silver and six bronze medals.

The 10 golds surpassed the target of nine set by the Vovinam federation ahead of the games.

“Our efforts have yielded more than satisfactory results, and exceeded our expectations. We have won 10 gold, eight silver and nine bronze medals. I am truly excited by these results,” said federation president Ou Ratana, at the May 9 closing ceremony of the Vovinam competition.

He noted that while the federation have hosted both the world Vovinam champs and the Southeast Asian tournament, they have never welcomed the SEA Games event into the Kingdom before. Ratana admitted to some nerves, ahead of the competition.

“We were concerned about how well our athletes would perform on such a large stage, and whether they would meet the medal expectations of the games’ organising committee. We were also aware that our image as hosts was on the line, and were determined to provide the best hospitality and the smoothest events,” he explained.

“We overcame these fears but focussing on doing everything the best we could. We are very happy. This is not my work alone, but is thanks to the efforts of all of the federation’s working groups, and their advisers, who have all worked hard and dedicated their time to achieve the results we are celebrating today,” he added.

He also noted that as the host country, Cambodia adhered to principles of transparency when it came to the sporting judiciary, which meant there had been no complaints from any of the participants.

“We received praise for the even-handed judging that took place at the event. To avoid any accusations of bias, our referees were not exclusively from Southeast Asia, but from as far away as Italy, Belarus and the UK. Unlike the organisers at the previous games, we video-recorded all performances, and allowed competitors to review the tapes in case they wanted to lodge a protest,” he said.

Pal Chhor Raksmey alone won six medals – four gold, one silver and one bronze – while her teammate Pov Sokha took three gold, one silver and a bronze. If they have the talent, one athlete can compete in up to six Vovinam events.

“I only won one gold at the previous games, but because we were hosting this year, I had targeted three. To win four is beyond my wildest dreams,” said Chhor Raksmay.

The 37-year-old explained that she had briefly considered retirement.

“I wanted to retire after these games, but my coach would not allow me to quit. He wants me to join the Vovinam World Championships in November. This year they will be held in Vietnam,” she said.

“This was the fourth time I have competed. I debuted in Indonesia, but my inexperience showed, and I returned empty-handed. In Myanmar, I was able to claim a bronze, and last year in Vietnam I took three bronze medals,” said her teammate Sokha.

“This is the first time I have claimed gold, and I managed to win three of them. To do it on home soil makes it even more memorable. The team, the coaches and I are incredibly proud to have won success for the Kingdom in the sport we love,” he added.