In a determined foray into the world of international climbing, Cambodian sports delegates coach Sim Rorn, and athletes Sambath Pheaktra and Im Vinnith have embarked on a transformative journey.
Currently in Italy, they’re sharpening their skills in preparation for the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) World Cup finals, slated for June 30 to July 2 in Switzerland.
Backed by Cambodia’s Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, the National Olympic Committee (NOCC) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the trio left their homeland on June 7. Their collective sights set on scaling the peaks of the IFSC Climbing World Cup, an event gathering athletes from over 100 countries worldwide, across the disciplines of speed, lead and boulder.
The world cup is a tri-country event, unfolding across Italy, Austria and Switzerland. The boulder round unfurled in Brixen, Italy, from June 9-11, while Innsbruck of Austria hosted the combined boulder and lead events from June 14-18. All eyes now turn towards the Swiss Vaud Alps’ village of Villars-sur-Ollon, where the lead and speed events are set to happen.
Pheaktra and Vinnith faced challenges in the Italian and Austrian stages. Their performance indicated they were not yet ready to go toe-to-toe with world-class climbers.
Coach Rorn, speaking from Italy, told The Post: “The first time in Europe, participating in the top mountain or wall climbing event, has been a learning curve affected by various factors, including weather and food.”
“In the ASEAN region, the capacities of our climbers remains limited. When we compete with world-level athletes, we receive mixed results. However, our athletes had victories over athletes from central Africa and South America,” Rorn acknowledged.
Regarding the upcoming Swiss competition, the team remains optimistic.
“Even though our athletes have limited experience, we’re hopeful of better results. We’re well-prepared this time. Training has been intense and uninterrupted since June 20, which differs from previous engagements, when we arrived just in time for the tournament. Our Swiss performance could well mark a turning point for Cambodian climbing,” coach Rorn added.