Officials from the Cambodia Boxing Federation (CBF) on May 25 considered the one silver and three bronze medals they recently brought home from the 31st SEA Games in Vietnam as a success, in line with the goals set by the federation.

They have now set new goals and made strategic plans to make sure that the national boxing team will be in a position to challenge for a historic gold medal when the Kingdom hosts the 32nd games in 2023.

CBF secretary-general Bui Sophoan told the Post: “We consider the results we achieved at the Hanoi games a success, because before the event, the federation set the goal of improving on our previous results. At the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines, we won five bronze medals, but we did not win any silver or gold. This time, we won one silver and three bronze, so we are headed in the direction we want to go.”

At the most recent games, Ung Phearak won a silver medal after losing to a Thai boxer in the final, while Hun Kim Heang, who fought in the 75kg class, and Sao Rainsy and Vy Srey Sros – who were in the female 57kg categories – all lost their semifinals but brought home bronze. Touch David, Vy Sophors, Neou Sok Ty and Soeun Sokly were unable to earn medals, dropping out during the qualifying rounds.

“Since 2017 – during the first mandate of the federation – we had not won a single silver medal, only bronze. Winning a silver and three bronze is a huge achievement for the federation. We have now set ourselves the task of earning at least one gold in 2023.

“We will work with our Thai counterparts and send our boxers to train with them. We are intending to organise accommodation for the team and a training camp, which will run from July until May next year,” said Sopoan.

“In addition, we have proposed that CAMSOC [Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee] hire an international coach. We have been in contact with a coach from Kazakhstan, who we hope will be able to teach our fighters some of the more technical boxing skills they will need if they want to compete at the top level.

“At the same time, we will try to find Cambodian boxers living abroad who qualify for the heavyweight class, because we don’t have many local boxers who can fit into that weight division. Focusing on the heavier classes is also a big part of the federation’s strategy, because at the Vietnam games, we observed that the standard of ASEAN heavyweights was fairly low. If we can find heavyweights with good technique and a solid foundation in boxing, we expect to claim gold,” he added.