Cambodia’s Wrestlers Pick Up More Medals at SEA Games

Cambodia’s wrestlers picked up more medals on Saturday at the 27th Southeast Asia Games in Naypyidaw with the final competitors on the mat adding another gold and bronze to take their tally to four gold, two silver and four bronze medals, which is almost half of Cambodia’s 21-medal haul so far.

On the final day of competition for the wrestlers, Cambodia’s Chov Sotheara defeated Suree Porn Pimpak of Thailand in the 44-kg women’s Freestyle category to win gold, while Cambodian teammate Josh Sou won bronze in men’s freestyle at 96 kg.

Cambodian gold medal winner Dorn Sov, top, grapples with Phyo Zaw Khaing of Burma in the 120 kg Men's Freestyle Wrestling final at the 27th Southeast Asia Games in Naypyidaw on Thursday. (Nguon Makara/Wrestling Federation of Cambodia)
Cambodian gold medal winner Dorn Sov, top, grapples with Phyo Zaw Khaing of Burma in the 120 kg Men’s Freestyle Wrestling final at the 27th Southeast Asia Games in Naypyidaw on Thursday. (Nguon Makara/Wrestling Federation of Cambodia)

By securing four gold medals—the only Cambodian athletes to do so thus far—the wrestling team has equaled the four gold medals won overall by Cambodia in the 2011 games in Indonesia, and helped push the country closer to achieving the National Olympic Committee’s (NOCC) goal of winning 10 gold medals at this year’s tournament.

“We came here with a target of 10 golds, and with four already in the bag, we are hopeful of more medals from vovinam, Kempo, tae kwon do and pentanque,” Ken Gadaffi, an adviser for the NOCC said from the team’s base in Naypyidaw.

“The Cambodian team has been impressive so far, particularly the wrestling team with four gold medals to their credit,” he said.

Cambodia falls eighth out of 11 in the medals table, some distance off the top four of Thailand, Burma, Indonesia and Vietnam, who have 33, 31, 30 and 29 golds respectively.

While Cambodia has already seen an improvement on last year, the tournament hasn’t been an unqualified success, and in some sports it is clear there is a long way to go before the achievements of the country’s wrestlers will be matched.

The Malaysian women’s hockey team showed Cambodia how the sport is played on Saturday, setting a world record score of 36-0. With an average scoring rate of about one goal every two minutes, Malaysian media reported that Cambodia’s young team could barely string two passes together.

Not quite making it into the record books, the men’s basketball team was trounced 107-57 by tournament favorite the Philippines on Tuesday, bringing the Cambodian team back down to earth after they had earlier upset host Burma 75-60 in the opening game December 8. The team was once again defeated on Friday against Singapore, which won its third straight game by hammering Cambodia 99–43.

And Cambodia’s footballers lost 3-2 to Timor-Leste, which sits bottom of the results table with just one bronze medal, to make it three losses from three games played for the Cambodia team.

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