“We have already made a formal request for these scholarships to assist the Sorn sisters and three other athletes from disciplines yet to be finalised in their training until the Olympics. I am hopeful of a favourable response,” NOCC secretary-general Vath Chamroeun told the Post in an exclusive interview yesterday.
Recalling Sorn’s incredible run of success in Incheon, Vath Chamroeun said one of the South Korean taekwondo experts who was watching Seavmey’s fights told him that the teenager had the potential to win a medal at the Olympics if she were to get the elite training she deserved.
“Coming from an expert in South Korea, which is home of taekwondo, I was greatly encouraged by this opinion and I am confident coach Choi Yong Sok, who has done an excellent job, will follow through on this achievement,” added the NOCC secretary.
Even as Seavmey continues to be the talk of the Kingdom, and may relish her celebrity status for a long time to come, she in all probability will miss out next June’s SEA Games in Singapore for the strangest of reasons.
The event categories on offer in Singapore may force Seavmey to shed as much as eight kilograms of her body weight to compete, which at present looks a tall order.
But with nearly eight months to go before the biennial regional meet, hope is not lost yet.
“I will soon discuss this problem with national coach Choi Yong Sok,” said Vath Chamroeun. “Seavmey has to trim down without losing her strength and that calls for a scientific approach rather than crash programs. We need to work out a sound strategy as to how well it can be done.”
Apart from this possible taekwondo setback in Singapore, Cambodia has also been dealt a double whammy in the form of two of the Kingdom’s most productive disciplines – wrestling and vovinam – being scratched out.
“Most of our gold medals have come from these two events. Since they have been left out, we need to strengthen our performances in other disciplines,” said the NOCC secretary.
Back to his regular administrative work after a hectic yet historic Asian Games campaign, Vath Chamroeun noted that the country’s first continental title had brought in its wake an enormous challenge to meet similar expectations in the future.
“With reward and recognition comes responsibility to maintain our competitive standards and our first task is to restructure our action priorities by building on our strengths and working on our weaknesses,” he said.
“While our performances in individual events were quite encouraging in parts, we have not been doing very well in team events. That’s the concern we are going to address in our discussions with the various federations.”