Cambodian taekwondo star Sorn Seavmey poses with her 2017 SEA Games gold medal in Kuala Lumpur on August 29.
Cambodian taekwondo star Sorn Seavmey poses with her 2017 SEA Games gold medal in Kuala Lumpur on August 29. Sreng Meng Srun

Seavmey on mend after knee op

Wheelchair-bound for the next few weeks at least following her recent knee surgery in South Korea, taekwondo star Sorn Seavmey is anxiously waiting for the day she can return to the mat and work out.

The 22-year-old Rio Olympics qualifier and 2014 Asian Games gold medallist stormed to SEA Games glory in Malaysia two months ago before undergoing knee ligament surgery to fix a niggling injury that had been bothering her for well over a year and a half.

According to her long-time coach Choi Yong Sok, Seavmey has been advised by the doctors to remain in a wheelchair for a few more weeks before walking on her own.

Since she has to be light on her feet, the first three months of her return to training could be tricky.

With her defence of her Asian Games gold, the first ever won by a Cambodian in seven decades, less than a year away in Jakarta, the country’s most popular athlete has been flooded with get well soon messages

She made an appearance at the NOCC headquarters on Friday when Education Minister and President of the Taekwondo Federation Hang Chuon Naron wished her a speedy recovery while donating $1,000.

The following day, Seavmey also received $2,000 from the National Lottery Company, which also extended financial assistance to kun Khmer boxing champion Khim Dima, world bodybuilding gold medallist Nan Sambo and 50 other athletes.

International Kun Khmer event
Meanwhile, in a major boost to the Kingdom’s indigenous combat sport kun Khmer, Phnom Penh will host an international competition involving boxers from eight other countries at Olympic Stadium next month.

Fighters from France, Australia, Iran, India, Nepal, Vietnam, Thailand and Laos will match their skills against the crust of Cambodian talent in the December 7-11 event.

Sanctioned by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, the competition will be jointly organised by the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia and the Kun Khmer Federation in collaboration with the world governing body.

“The main objective is to push for greater global appeal, while at the same time encourage our neighbours to join in as we head towards the 2023 SEA Games,” NOCC Secretary-General Vath Chamroeun said.

“We need to create career paths for our talented fighters just the way Thailand has done with muay Thai. We hope to turn this event into an annual affair.”

In other news, Cambodia’s most successful petanque player of all time, Ke Leng, who has scooped 19 golds across the globe in various competitions, picked up her third world title in four years in the Chinese city of Kaihua on Friday.

Winner in France 2013 and Thailand 2015, the widely acclaimed queen of petanque was right on the mark in the 16th World Championship for Women, setting a new benchmark for excellence on the boules court.
In a career spanning nearly two decades, Leng has taken the women’s game to spectacular heights, raking in multiple medals in regional and international events.

It was Leng, in the company of another world title holder Ouk Sreymom, who brought Cambodia’s first gold medal in the recently concluded SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.

“Winning three world championships in four years is a remarkable feat and one that should inspire generations to come,” the NOCC’s Chamroeun said.