The Cambodian finswimming team – who recently made history by claiming the Kingdom’s first gold in the sport during the 32nd SEA Games 2023 in Phnom Penh – has built on its success, claiming multiple medals at the Asian champs.
The team claimed two gold, one silver and two bronze medals at the 18th ASIAN Finswimming Championships 2023, held in Phuket, Thailand, from November 24-28.
Kaing Muoy Nin won two gold and one silver, while Khoeun Bun Pich Morakot brought home a pair of bronze medals.
The two swimmers’ results saw Cambodia ranked 6th on the medal table, of the 17 countries which entered the championship.
Hem Kiri, secretary-general of the Khmer Swimming Federation (KSF), shared his pride at the results, as he and the team arrived home to Phnom Penh International Airport on November 29.
“This is the first time Cambodia has participated in the ASIAN Finswimming Championships. Our outstanding performances came as a surprise to many of the other countries at the competition, and many of them shared their admiration for what we were able to achieve,” he said.
He noted that the medal-winning performances were due to the excellent work of the coaching staff, as well as the dedication and hard work of the athletes, who have been training hard since the end of the SEA Games, under the direction of Deputy Prime Minister and KSF president Sun Chanthol.
“We only established our finswimming team two years ago but have already achieved great successes. This competition was far larger than the region – victories at the Asian level suggest that this sport may become a potential medal earner for Cambodia in the future. We are all very proud that we were able to earn this success for the nation,” he said.
Muoy Nin claimed gold in the women’s 100m bi-fin with a time of 50:66 seconds and in the 200m bi-fin with a time of 1:51:41, and also collected a silver in the 400m event.
Two bronzes were earned by Pich Morakot in the men’s 100m bi-fin at 52:09 seconds and the 200m in 1:54.92 minutes. Teammates Sok Vat Thanoun and Lim Keo Udom were unable to deliver podium-winning performances.
Muoy Nin was seemingly disappointed not to have claimed a third gold in the 400m event. Her preferred distance, she was pipped to the top spot by a South Korean rival.
“Winning two gold and one silver at the Asian Championships was an excellent result of course, but I still have a lot to learn. The 400m was my main event, but I made a small mistake and lost to the South Korean. This is something I need to learn from. It will help me to prepare for the next competition,” she said.
During the championships, the Southeast Asian Finswimming Federation held its first meeting to elect a Federal Executive Committee. The members of the CMAS-World Underwater Federation reviewed the results, with KSF secretary-general Kiri assuming the same role for the regional body.
“It is a source of pride that a member from Cambodia was elected as secretary-general. This will give the Kingdom more opportunities to advance and develop the sport of finswimming. We are planning to organise the Asian Finswimming Championships every two years and a youth competition every year,” he said.