Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Yen Dina ‘never dreamed’ of winning gold for Kingdom

Yen Dina ‘never dreamed’ of winning gold for Kingdom

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Cambodian boxer Yen Dina celebrates after being awarded gold in the men’s 63.5kg Kun Khmer final. CAMSOC

Yen Dina ‘never dreamed’ of winning gold for Kingdom

Koh Kong-born Po Phearith, better known as Yen Dina, became the only member of his team to bring home gold medal in Kun Khmer Boxing at the SEA Games in Vietnam. Six of his teammates were able to earn bronze, while three crashed out of the top eight qualifiers.

Before claiming his gold at the Hanoi games, which officially closed on May 23, Dina admitted that he never expected to emerge victorious from the final. In his semi-final bout, he found himself under serious pressure in the first round, after falling victim to a flurry of ferocious kicks from his Thai opponent, Norapat Khundam. Dina was subject to a standing count by the referee in the first round, but staged an astonishing comeback to take the final two rounds of the three-round fight and earn a place in the final.

Despite defeating his Thai rival in the 63.5kg semi, Dina remained concerned about the final, especially after he learned that he would be facing the host nation’s Cao Minh Phat Truong. He was afraid of the judges giving biased points as, he said, some of his teammates had experienced this in earlier matches. However, he put on a powerful display which left no doubt about who the dominant fighter was, and took all three rounds.

“I’m really excited and happy to have taken the gold. I can’t find the words to describe my feelings,” he said after the match.

“To be honest, I did not think I could make it through the final and come away with the win, because all of my opponents are strong, talented boxers. First, I met the Thai fighter who kicked me in the neck and forced the referee to give me a standing count, and then I had to meet the Vietnamese boxer and was worried the judges would not let me win the match.

“In the final bout against the Vietnamese fighter, I did not expect much. I was afraid of being beaten through being denied points. That all changed when I saw my teammates giving me the thumbs up after the first round, indicating that I had won it. That allayed my fears and encouraged me to work harder. At the same time, I took inspiration from our sporting leaders who had come to watch the match,” he added.

After winning the final, Dina also thanked his parents, saying: “No matter what competition I travel to, I always miss my parents. I remember speaking to them through my heart, and saying ‘my parents, please help me to win this gold’. When I return to the Kingdom, I will train even harder than before. This was my first time fighting at the SEA Games, and my first time fighting in elbow pads and headgear.”

Sok Rith, who boxed in the 54kg category, and Cha Chandeng, a 48kg fighter, were kept medal-less after being eliminated by Thai and Vietnamese athletes in their qualifying matches. Van Voeun, a 57kg competitor, was lucky enough to draw a bye and advance automatically to the semi-finals, thus guaranteeing a medal. Unfortunately, he was unable to take advantage of the easier path, losing his semi-final and returning home with bronze.

MOST VIEWED

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of

  • 61% of 2022 imports came from just 3 markets

    The three largest exporters to Cambodia – mainland China, Vietnam and Thailand – accounted for 60.94 per cent of the Kingdom’s total merchandise imports last year, at $18.245 billion, which was up 11.99 per cent over 2021, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise. Cambodia’s total imports

  • CPP sets out five primary strategic goals for 2023-28

    The Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) on January 29 concluded its two-day extraordinary congress, setting the party’s priority goals for 2023-2028. The ruling party’s congress was attended by more than 3,000 members from across the Kingdom, including the members of the permanent and central committees,