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Zepp swims for Pailin team

Zepp swims for Pailin team


Coach Christian Zepp of the national disabled volleyball team plans a 50-hour, 50km swim in his German hometown to support the Pailin Frechen Lions team

Christian Zepp (third left, back) poses for a photograph with his Cellcard National Volleyball League (Disabled) team, the Pailin Frechen Lions, at Olympic Stadium. CNVLD

FRECHEN, Germany - Inspirational coach Christian Zepp of Germany, who led the Cambodian national volleyball team (disabled) to third place in the 2007 World Organisation for Volleyball (Disabled) Standing Up World Cup held in Phnom Penh, is to swim 50 kilometres in 50 hours this weekend in Frechen to raise sponsorship for the Pailin Frechen Lions, a team in the 2009 Cellcard National Volleyball League (Disabled).

Frechen city, Christian Zepp's hometown near the city of Cologne, is proud to possess one of the oldest and best-maintained swimming pools in the country, and in August 2008, Zepp swam an amazing 40.7km in a competition designed to save the historic sports facility. His cash prize for winning the 2008 event was presented by the mayor of Frechen city, who then increased the amount to €600 (US$850) in recognition of Zepp's pledge to donate the entire amount to Cambodia's Pailin Frechen Lions volleyball team.

Starting Friday, the 32-year-old hopes to smash his previous record by swimming a mind-boggling 50km in just 50 hours to ensure the Pailin Frechen Lions continue to Stand Up in the 2009 Cellcard National Volleyball League (Disabled).

Revered by Cambodians for his outstanding contribution to the national volleyball team during the 2007 World Cup, Zepp has called for all citizens of Frechen to sponsor him for any amount they can afford in his efforts to support the disabled athletes from Pailin, one of the areas in Cambodia most affected by land mines. "Even for Germans, small amounts of money can make a huge difference for people in Cambodia," Zepp writes to the Post by email.

Zepp also wished to praise the efforts of the CNVLD, especially the "amazingly hardworking" Secretary General Christopher Minko and his co-workers.

"They inspired me to use my abilities for more than only working in a bureau and earning money," said Zepp.

Zepp also assured that Cambodia will soon become the leader in disabled sports in the region, through its continued efforts and increasing awareness throughout the Kingdom. "I hope to improve the standard of life and standard of sporting skills, so that well-being of the athletes improves, and we can claim for being No 1 in the world in standing volleyball and disabled sports one day," Zepp declared.

Currently the Pailin Frechen Lions need all they help they can get, lying eighth out of 10 teams in the CNVLD table, having lost both their games so far. Zepp will return to Cambodia in November to prepare the national team for the 2009 Volleyball Standing Up World Cup held again in Phnom Penh from December 14-22. CNVLD

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