The Sambo family bodybuilding team achieved a remarkable triumph in the Special Forces Smart Man competition, held recently in Thailand’s Lopburi province.

Part of a field of 153 competitors, they secured a total of two gold and two silver medals in the contest.

To add to thes success, these muscular Cambodian athletes also clinched two additional gold medals in the Champ of the Champs competition.

“I led four of my students to compete, as well as entering the event myself. We came home with four medals, with one of the team achieving a 5th place ranking.

“We were also able to secure two golds in the ‘Champ of the Champs’ competition,” said Sambo Nun, who is both a coach and a competitor.

During the two-day competition, held on August 25-26, Nun and star athlete Phorn Phors claimed first place in their respective classes.

This earned them entry in the Champ of the Champs contest, where they were able to add to their remarkable tally.

Nun’s son Nun Sok Chamroeun won silver in the under-18 competition, while Kong Chan Duong also claimed a second place. Dy Vanda’s performance earned him a respectable fifth.

“This is a fantastic outcome for us, as we have never before brought home Champ of the Champs gold.

“Winning two out of the three disciplines signifies a significant improvement in our abilities.

“What makes me even more proud is the success of my students, who have only competed a few times, yet managed to secure gold and silver medals,” he said.

He also expressed his joy at his son’s performance. He hopes to inspire his son to become a skilled athlete capable of representing the nation and winning gold medals, following in the footsteps of his world champion uncle Sambo Sophorn, and himself.

“I have three children, two sons and one daughter. Chamroeun, my second child, has chosen to follow my path as a bodybuilder.

“With his love for the sport and perseverance, I am committed to providing him with the necessary support and guidance to develop into a talented athlete and reach a level where he can represent the nation and bring home medals, like the last generation has done.

“His form is already superior to 99 per cent of bodybuilders in his age group,” he explained.

However, the opportunity to qualifying for the national team may pose a challenge for Chamroeun and the other athletes who train with the Sambo family.

‘Fostering growth’

Since the family parted ways with the Cambodian Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation in 2019, the relationship with body’s president Tek Bunvy has cooled, despite him sharing many training sessions and competitions with Nun.

Nun recently exchanged words with Bunvy, who wrote a letter to the international bodybuilding federation requesting the removal of his name from the competition in Thailand.

“Although my efforts are now not supported by the federation, I refuse to give up.

“With more than 15 years of involvement in this sport, my love for it remains unwavering, and I am determined to keep pushing forward and train the next generation to foster its growth and development.

“I think the management structure of the federation will evolve over time, opening doors for those with genuine abilities to contribute to the growth and development of bodybuilding in Cambodia.

“While I may not have the opportunity to represent the country as I did in the past, I believe that the younger generation I have trained will earn a chance to join the national team,” he said.

A former ASEAN Championship gold medallist who once placed fourth at the World Championships, he expressed his optimism in the potential of the athletes he has trained, believing they will bring the Kingdom honour and glory to in years to come.

“Even in the future, when I may no longer be able to train and compete due to my age, I will take immense pride if the athletes I have trained could represent our nation and bring home medals on the international stage, because we are behind their success.

“Our collective efforts and perseverance will contribute to elevating the Kingdom’s national image.

“By nurturing the next generation, we will enable them to achieve victories at international competitions,” he said.