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Cuban coaches arrive as volleyballers set golden SEA Games target

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Cuban volleyball coaches arrive in Cambodia to train beach volleyball team for the 2023 SEA Games. SUPPLIED

Cuban coaches arrive as volleyballers set golden SEA Games target

Cuban indoor and beach volleyball officials and coaches have arrived in Phnom Penh to provide technical assistance and coaching for the Cambodian national team.

The visit comes as the Kingdom's national teams, particularly beach volleyball, ramp up their preparations to be competing for medals when the Kingdom hosts the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) next year.

Bringing in the four Cuban technical officers and coaches is part of a collaboration between the Volleyball Federation of Cambodia (VFC) and the Cuban embassy in Phnom Penh.

Karell Pena Ventoza is the beach volleyball coach and Berto Friol Barrios the indoor volleyball coach, while Leonid Abum Castillo and Natyelis Riol Cardenas are technical officials.

VFC officials – including secretary-general Aing Serey Piseth and his deputies Chea Pov, Ten Lon and Kuon Sokunthy – welcomed the Cuban experts on August 29.

Cambodian national beach volleyball team players and coaches were also at the VFC office at the National Olympic Stadium to greet the arriving party.

The officials were brought on a visit of the training centre at the stadium and to check out the Cambodian beach volleyball team's technique and quality.

"The Cuban coaches will train in two disciplines: indoor volleyball and beach volleyball.

"Under the guidance of VFC president Neth Savoeun and vice-president Sar Sokha, we need to strengthen the beach volleyball team's ability on their journey to the 32nd SEA Games.

"And while our training is not yet at the highest standard, finishing fifth at the recent SEA Games in Vietnam shows that our beach volleyball team is not too bad," Serey Piseth told reporters.

The federation is eager to see the Kingdom's beach volleyballers win a medal at the biennial multi-sports event because the team is yet to repeat the feat since winning bronze for the first time at the Thailand edition in 2007.

"We want to win medals, and as I said before, wherever we go, we go for medals and not to get more experience because we already have that.

"So we invite Cuban coach Karell Pena Ventoza to be our beach volleyball head coach," he added.

However, Pena Ventoza will be looked at to see what he can bring to the Cambodian setup, he noted.

"We will look at his coaching technique, whether he is stronger, similar or weaker than our Cambodian coaches.

"I hope that in the next two or three months, he will show us results with development in our beach volleyball skills.

"We plan to hold a beach volleyball tournament so we will know the answer," he said.

Sim Khlok, the national beach volleyball team coach, welcomed the VFC's decision to bring in the Cuban coach to add quality with the sharing of strong technical experience as the Kingdom looks to medal at next year’s games.

"I look forward to working with him to help our beach volleyball team grow so that we can go on to win medals at the 2023 SEA Games.

"It is a good opportunity for the beach volleyball team to gain experience and knowledge related to new techniques through coaches from abroad," Khlok told The Post on August 29.

Serey Piseth said Cuban indoor volleyball coach Friol Barrios would be an able assistant coach or technical director advising on training and game strategy as he specialises in the sport.

Cambodia already has a foreign volleyball coach from China, Li Jun, who led the men's indoor team in making history by winning a bronze medal at the recent SEA Games in Vietnam.

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