The Cambodian women’s indoor hockey team players have doubled their training for several months at the Morodok Techo National Stadium in preparation for the 32nd SEA Games in May, hoping to win one or two gold medals for the nation while the Kingdom hosts the games for the first time in history.
The women’s team failed to medal at the indoor hockey competition at the 30th SEA Games in the Philippines, while the Cambodian men’s field and indoor hockey teams have never participated in the games.
However, Kaing Sothea, secretary-general of the Cambodian Hockey Federation (CHF), said that the effort to train on a standard field and the opportunity to play on the international stage in the past had made the Cambodian indoor and field hockey teams, both men and women, increase their effort in the hope of competing for medals.
“It is true that our hockey teams have never won a medal at the SEA Games. But after examining and judging the field and training infrastructure, we have been preparing for many months and have gone out to compete with other countries with the support of the Ministry of Education and the Cambodia SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC). We have made great progress on the technical level and we have set the goal of winning one or two gold medals,” he said.
“Although we are not sure how well we will do, the hope of winning this gold medal is our goal. If we try to move forward without a goal, we cannot succeed and until now we are 100 per cent ready, with the technical spirit and the strength to achieve the goals ahead,” he continued.
At the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines, the Cambodian women’s indoor hockey team did not win a single game. At the game, they drew 3-3 with the Singapore women’s team and then lost to Thailand 6-1 and to the host Philippines 4-3. Finally, they lost to the gold medallists Malaysia 10-0, making them the last place team in the competition.
However, the Cambodia women team broke their 12 year losing streak by beating the Singapore women’s national team 3-0 in the group stage of the Indoor ASIA Cup 2022 in Bangkok, Thailand on August 9, 2022 and the training of the Cambodian hockey team has renewed hopes for them in preparation for the SEA Games.
“We are getting closer to the SEA Games. So we need to add techniques. We have no problems, we just wait for the day of the game. We’ve also noticed that the ability of our athletes is improved, and more importantly, we are the hosts of the competition. We have high hopes for winning a gold medal,” he stated.
For the 32nd SEA Games 2023, hockey has four events: Indoor hockey for men and women and field hockey for men and women. Cambodia will compete in all four events.
“The leadership of the federation, the coaches and the athletes have determined that though they train, we also train and they run, but we run as well. So we do not think that any country is stronger than the other.
“If we value their team as stronger than our team, it seems to break our spirit. Coming to the field is the most important thing we have to do. We have to try our best and the winner will clearly be shown after a referee blows the final whistle,” Kaing Sothea emphasised.