After three days, Cambodia’s gold medal drought in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games finally ended.
Cambodia currently ranks seventh in the SEA Games medal standings, with 13 medals to show after three days, including one gold, thee silver and nine bronze. Cambodia overtook Myanmar, which dropped two places and presently ranks ninth overall.
Yong Mengly beat Billy Joel Valenzuela of the Philippines in the final of arnis (65 kilograms padded stick) to give the Kingdom its first gold medal in the regional sports competition. Third place went to Vu Duc Hung of Vietnam.
Mengly’s victory prevented what could have been a clean sweep for the Philippines in arnis yesterday. Athletes from the host country won three out of four gold medals up for grabs yesterday.
It was the second medal for Mengly in the tournament. Earlier, he lost a close decision to Villardo Cunamay of the Philippines in the +65 kg live stick category to settle for silver.
So far, 12 of the 13 medals that Cambodia won in the SEA Games have come from arnis, which is a traditional martial art that originated in the Philippines. The lone exception is the silver medal won by the Kingdom’s men sepak takraw team.
Sia Veannsonita also won a silver medal for Cambodia in 60 kg live stick (women).
Cambodia’s bronze medalists are led by Moeun Bunly, Sok Chhun and Deb Nget.
Mengly now has two bronze medals to his name after winning the third place in +65 kg live stick and 65 kg padded stick (men). Chhun won the bronze in 60 kg padded stick (men) and 60 kg padded stick (men), while Nget took the bronze in 55 kg padded stick and 55 kg live stick (men).
The Kingdom’s other bronze medalists are Deb Nget in 55 kg padded stick (men), Bo Chanthy in 60 kg live stick (women), Yuos Sanchana in 55 kg live stick (women) and Khiev Chendaroth in 50 kg live stick (women).
The Kingdom has yet to win a medal in any of the other sports disciplines in the SEA Games, including in basketball (3×3) where it lost all of its five games to bow out of medal contention.
But Cambodia still has a good chance to win more medals, with still nine days to go before the conclusion of the SEA Games and many sports still to be played. The SEA Games will conclude on Dec 11.
Despite not winning any medal, Cambodia’s performance in cycling was considered good, with two of its riders placing in the top 10 of Cross Country Olympic-Men Elite.
“This is our best result so far in any SEA Games mountain bike competition. Still far from the top 3 positions, but a big improvement compared to a few years ago,” Pierre Yves Catry, deputy secretary general of the Cambodia Cycling Federation (CCF), said in a Facebook post.
Sang Seyha placed seventh, while Huot Loy Raksmey placed ninth in the race.
“Our athletes did a good job of challenging riders from Vietnam and Indonesia,” he added.
Today, the Cambodian baseball team will open its SEA Games campaign against the Philippines at Clark Field 1 starting 2pm (Cambodia time).
The Philippines still lead in the overall medal tally with a total (as of 5:30 pm yesterday) of 64 medals, including 35 gold, 19 silver and 10 bronze.
In just two days, the Philippines surpassed the number of gold medals it won in the 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia. The Philippines placed sixth overall two years ago with a total haul of 120 medals (23 gold, 33 silver and 64 bronze).
Rounding up the top five are Vietnam with 44 medals (10 gold, 18 silver and 16 bronze), Malaysia with 19 medals (9 gold, 2 silver and 8 bronze), Indonesia with 23 medals (6 gold, 9 silver and 8 bronze) and Thailand with 28 medals (6 gold, 8 silver and 14 bronze).
Timor-Leste, which has yet to win a medal, sits at the bottom of the standings.