Cambodia has lived up to the pre-games prediction and hype for this year's 11th ASEAN Para Games in Solo, Indonesia, notching a significant achievement for the Kingdom.
The Cambodian women's three-on-three wheelchair basketball team won the first medal at the games, taking home top honours with a gold medal victory.
Unfortunately, the Cambodian men's three-on-three wheelchair basketball team couldn't match the women's feat and were defeated by the host team Indonesia in their final.
Though this was their very first ASEAN Para Games, the Cambodian women's basketball team put in a record-setting performance and dominated by winning all of their games in a clean sweep to take their well-earned gold medals.
First they defeated the Lao women's team 11-5 in the opening match on Saturday. Then on Sunday they defeated Thailand's reigning-gold medallist team 9-8, before demolishing the Philippine women's team 18-0 in the final match to take first place and advance to the final game of the round-robin tournament.
With three consecutive victories, the Cambodian women's team faced off against their Thai opponents once again for the final match. It was a tough match and hotly contested from the opening tip-off to the final buzzer, but Cambodia managed to beat Thailand 7-5, securing the Kingdom's first gold medal performance at the games.
The groundbreaking gold medals for the women's wheelchair basketball team have served as inspiration for the rest of the Cambodian delegation to the games who are now hungry to overtake the Kingdom's previous medal-high score of five silver and five bronze in Malaysia in 2017.
Prime Minister Hun Sen – also head of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) – has sent his son Hun Many, a lawmaker for Kampong Speu province and chairman of the National Assembly’s 7th Commission, to lead the Cambodian delegation to the games. Many of them were on hand for the gold medal victory, cheering loudly the whole way.
“We congratulate the Kingdom of Cambodia for winning the first gold medal in the ASEAN Para Games 2022 in Indonesia in the women’s wheelchair basketball event with a victory over Thailand,” Many wrote in a social media post.
Winning the gold medal in the three-on-three event is being interpreted as a good sign for the women's basketball team's chances at another gold medal in the five-on-five event because they are scheduled to face the same teams from Thailand, Laos and the Philippines with the same rules and regulations, just with two more players on the court.
The Cambodian men's wheelchair basketball team failed to win any medals at the 2022 games. The team finished third in the round-robin tournament, losing 16-4 to Thailand, 8-5 to host team Indonesia 9-5 and 20-4 to the Philippines in the bronze medal match.
The Cambodian men's seated volleyball team resoundingly defeated the Philippines in three sets, sweeping all three with scores of 25-9, 25-8 and 25-11 on Monday. They play against Myanmar at 9am today.
“I am really proud of the continued successes of our teams as they compete under intense pressure against the region's best athletes in their sports. These successes reflect the strong discipline, positive attitudes and inspired efforts made by our teams, who have all done their best to win medals for our nation.
"Long live the Kingdom of Cambodia,” concluded Hun Many in his post.