Cambodian Vovinam off to dream start as Taekwondo wins first gold

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The Cambodian Vovinam team (centre) won a gold medal on their opening day at the 31st SEA Games in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi after performing very well in the ‘1 Female against 3 Males with Weapons’ event on May 18. CAMSOC

The Cambodia national Vovinam team had a dream start on their first day at the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Vietnam, as the Kingdom claimed a full suite of medals – a gold, a silver and a bronze. Cambodia has high hopes that the team will add to the nation’s tally of gold, and improve on the four that its athletes claimed at the 2019 games.

Cambodian WT taekwondo practitioner Va Mithona won a gold medal in the men’s 74kg category after defeating his Filipino opponent 35-14 in the final on the same day, May 18.

Although the sport of Vovinam was not included in the three previous games – the 2015 games in Singapore, 2017 in Malaysia and 2019 in the Philippines – at the Myanmar 2013 games, the Kingdom’s Vovinam artists were able to showcase their skills, winning two gold, one silver and seven bronze medals in their first games appearance.

With these results, the Vovinam team won its classification easily, with hosts Vietnam claiming the silver medal and Indonesia taking bronze. This victory clearly showed that they are a force to be reckoned with in the sport.

Cambodian Vovinam artist Sok Sophy won a silver medal in her 55kg category debut.

Sophy drew a berth in the semi-finals via bye, where she defeated her Filipino rival 7-6 in the last additional minute. The two drew level on 6-6 after three rounds but the Cambodian reached the final in extra time. Unfortunately she lost the final, to a Vietnamese artist, 10-0.

Pal Charasmey and Pov Sokha – who competed in the Dual Form 1 Female event – managed to win a bronze medal and as of yesterday evening at 7pm, Cambodia had won four gold, five silver and 10 bronze medals in various sports in the ongoing games.

Kun Khmer boxer Tin Dith, better known as Sen Radet, who competes in the 55kg class, and Chuk Somaly, a 65kg competitor, are also guaranteed respective bronze medals after the two fighters drew byes that will see them advance directly to the semi-finals. The Cambodian Vovinam team still has several chances to add to their tally as there are more disciplines to come.