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SEA Games in Hanoi ‘trials’ for 2023 inclusion: CAMSOC official

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Cambodian-American Casandre Nicole Tubbs (left) exchanges kicks with her Indonesian opponent during the 2019 SEA Games. CAMSOC

SEA Games in Hanoi ‘trials’ for 2023 inclusion: CAMSOC official

The Cambodian Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – along with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia – have finalised their official selections and announced that the Kingdom will compete in 33 sports at this year’s SEA Games.

This year’s host is Vietnam and the games will run from May 12 to 23 in Hanoi.

According to the official delegates list seen by The Post on April 19, across the 33 sports there are a total of 550 delegates.

Cambodia will send 237 male and 126 female athletes, 93 coaches or assistant coaches and 19 doctors. Sixteen referees and 35 sports officials will be joining the trip along with 22 chairman or secretary-generals of specific sporting bodies. Four members of the Cambodian Anti-Doping Agency will accompany the team.

CAMSOC secretary-general Vath Chamroeun confirmed that the 550 delegates have already been registered for the upcoming 31st SEA Games in Vietnam, so this list can be considered final. In sports of course, nothing is ever fixed, so it may be necessary to make minor changes, he added.

He also revealed that these games will be an important opportunity to evaluate the 33 sports Cambodia has chosen to compete in – and decide which are strong enough to win medals and which show weakness and should be cut – ahead of the Kingdom’s historic hosting duties next year.

“Our main goal for the games in Vietnam is to strategise and assess our weak points. We will decide which of the 33 sports we are strong enough to medal in, and in which sports we lack the depth and skill to get out of the first round of competition,” Chamroeun told The Post.

“The sports in which we are strong and look likely to take gold, silver or bronze in will be a focus of our preparation for the 2023 games. We are unlikely to compete at home in sports in which we appear uncompetitive or weak. We will look to substitute other events for them. We have to make certain that Cambodia hosts successfully, both in terms of organisation, and in terms of results in competition,” he added.

The 33 sports that Cambodia will compete at in Vietnam are divided into three categories.

The first (Compulsory Sports), includes athletics, swimming, and finswimming.

The second (Olympic and Asian) is comprised of gymnastics (aerobics), shooting, taekwondo, cycling, fencing, judo, wushu, wrestling, boxing, karate, dancing, triathlon, jujitsu, weightlifting, canoeing/kayak, football (U20), volleyball (board and beach, basketball (3x3 and 5x5), sepak takraw, table tennis and golf.

The third (Local and traditional Sports) features vovinam, Kun Khmer boxing, kickboxing, petanque and bodybuilding.

Billiards, snooker, E-sports and xiangqi competitions will also be entered.

There are 150 men’s disciplines, 103 women’s disciplines, 16 mixed disciplines and 26 team events, for a total of 295 disciplines across all 33 sports.

When asked about where the Cambodian team expected to collect medals, Chamroeun said: “We do not have a firm estimate as to how many gold medals we expect to return home with, but we expect to improve on all of our previous efforts.

“In Vietnam, I believe we will have good chances in the jujitsu, petanque, taekwondo and Vovinam events. It is worth noting that Vovinam has not been seen at the SEA Games since 2013, and it’s a sport in which we are strong.”

The Kingdom competed at the most recent 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines, placing eighth overall in the three gold, two silver and 12 bronze medals. This should be contrasted with the 2013 games in Myanmar, where the Kingdom dominated the Vovinam events and returned home with 8 golds, 11 silvers and 28 bronzes.

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