Cambodian female riders Alicia Khiem, Nora Lynn-Manns and Hayley Oakley could only beat one home in the 10-team Mondial des Clubs equestrian competition in France’s Lamotte Beuvron last week but returned home all the wiser and stronger for their first taste of international experience.
Despite nice jumps and few clear runs in the 100cm show jumping event, the Cambodian riders could only manage ninth place ahead of India.
“This international competition attracted some of the strongest teams in the world like France, Britain, Italy, Chile, Gabon, Ireland, Ivory Coast and India. We were very proud to feature among these participants,’’ said Cambodian Equestrian Federation President Mona Tep, who was present in the horse park.
“It was an amazing experience for Alicia and Nora, for whom it was a dream to compete in France. They also met for the first time on a joint competition and could build nice team spirit which can promise us good future results,’’ Tep said.
While many of the riders brought their own horses, the Cambodians were forced to lease mounts from a local club due to budget constraints.
The team’s participation was fully supported by the FEI Solidarity with additional sponsorship from ASEAN Equestrian Federation, Cambodian Country Club and Pharmacie de la Gare.
Meanwhile, the Federation’s attempts to secure a suitable horse for Cambodian American Nora to ride at the SEA Games have seemingly failed, jeopardising her chances of participation in the biennial event. CEF President Tep said it was a disappointing turn after the equestrian community had so eagerly been looking forward to see the teenager in action.
The Cambodian men’s endurance team taking part in the 80km event left Phnom Penh on Tuesday to Malaysia’s well-known horse park in Terengganu where the equestrian events at the Games will be held from August 19.
The Cambodian Equestrian Federation’s Secretary-General Kao Vannarin will use his extensive experience in endurance to coach the team, whose six members are Hoy Sopharith, Sim Narith, Lon Sopheaktra, Moeung Sok Chea, Phay Visal and Ly Sovanachandara.