Cambodian billiards player Sruong Pheavy has competed successfully for nearly 10 years in South Korea. She is confident it has given her the experience she needs to remain cool and collected as she hunts for a gold medal in her first appearance at the SEA Games.

Pheavy, whose hometown is in Tbong Khmum province, has lived with her husband in South Korea for more than a decade. She expressed her happiness at being given the opportunity to compete for the Kingdom on her home soil.

“I am a cassava farmer’s daughter from the Cambodian countryside who went on to become a famous athlete in Korea. This is the first year that my chosen discipline, carom billiards, has featured at the SEA Games, but I know I have the skill and the mental toughness to win.

“I have represented the Kingdom on the world stage many times, but this is the first time I will have had a chance to do so at home. I will do my best to make the Cambodian people proud,” she said.

Despite being the only Khmer woman to play the sport, in her years of competition in South Korea she has claimed many titles and even been ranked number one, making her a famous name in the sport.

Pheavy is the only Cambodian entry for the carom billiards events at this year’s games. The matches will be played on the third floor of Aeon Mall Sen Sok, from May 7-14.

She expects her experience to see her through to the top step of the podium.

“I have almost 10 years’ experience in competition in South Korea, so all the obstacles I have overcome have provided me with a solid base. As a veteran of the sport, I will use what I have learnt in my many years of competing to take victory,” she said.

The four nations that will compete are Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Laos, so Pheavy will have to play a four-person round to make it to the final.

“I have confidence in myself, and this is my first home game, which I expect to give me a boost.

“In previous competitions, my Cambodian fans have supported me via social media, but this time they will there in person! This will give me a massive lift,” she said.

She was unclear about the skill levels of her opponents, although she had seen some of them through YouTube clips.

“However, it is a certainty that they have heard my name. With that being said, I never consider the skill or experience of my opponent. It is important to never underestimate anybody, as that could lead to carelessness on my part,” she explained.

“In sport, if we believe we are the best, we become arrogant, which is a major weakness. Fame and accolades can wait, the most important thing is that we manage our emotions and remain focused,” she added.

She hoped that the sport’s appearance at the games would boost its popularity, both in Cambodia and the wider region.

“My expectation is to win a medal for the Cambodia people, who have waited more than 60 years to host this event.

“Sporting success is a great way for a nation to become well known and build a positive reputation, so I urge all of the Kingdom’s people to love and support sport, no matter what kind,” she said.