The president of the Cambodia Vovinam Federation hailed members’ successful completion at the weekend of a refereeing course in the Vietnamese martial art.
“Such things will help the sport become more developed, said Rat Sokhorn, president of the Vovinam Federation of Cambodia. “And moreover, it’s a step towards reaching international standards.
Mr. Sokhorn, who is also President of the Cambodia Table Tennis Federation said the referee course was organised in conjunction with the Ministry of Youth, Education, and Sports.
“Referees are very important to the sport and to the trainees. The course gave the participants a clear understanding of the rules of practice. By reaching the international standards required by judges and referees, our athletes can also benefit from their expertise.”
Vovinam is a martial art in which fighters use kicks, grapples, throws and even weapons. Unlike taekwondo, the Korean martial art, it is not yet recognised as an Olympic sport and as a result receives little funding.
The sport has flourished in Cambodia in recent years and the kingdom famously finished third in the overall standing at the 2017 World Vovinam Championships in India.
Finishing behind Vietnam and Algeria in the 45-nation competition in New Delhi last August, Cambodia captured an unprecedented four gold, nine silver and nine bronze medals for a total of 22 medals.
“In more than 10 years, Cambodia has never won so many medals,” said Vath Chamroeun, the secretary general of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia who was part of the welcoming committee last August.
“As part of the plan for the SEA Games, which Cambodia will host in 2023, we have to make sure our level is up there with our Asean neighbours.
Both Prime Minister Hun Sen and Casino-giant NagaWorld have in the past acknowledged the success of Cambodia’s Vovinam athletes. In 2016, Sen Rady won the Male Athlete of the Year grand prize at the NagaWorld Sports Awards.
Rady, also known as Tin Pheap, beat the likes of football darling Chan Vathanaka and a host of other contenders thanks to his gold-medal winning display at the 2015 Vovinam Championships in Algiers.
He had earlier received $30,000 from the allocated government fund for sporting excellence as well as a $10,000 personal contribution from the prime minister.