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Women Boat Racers Challenge Men

Phun Chan Ousaphea and Nou Sotheavy / Khmer Times Share:
A team of women racers pose before competing in the boat races at the 2014 Water Festival in Phnom Penh on Nov. 5. (KT Photo: Nou Sotheavy)

PHNOM PENH, Nov. 5, (Khmer Times) – Wearing traditional pha moung (tied cloth pants), female rowers Nearn and Thy are prepared to race against bigger, male-crewed boats and to win.

The team of women rowers from Kampong Chnang Province have had just one month to train with their boat, due to it needing repairs and upgrades after not being used since 2010, the last time the Water Festival was held.

Despite that, the women expect to triumph in the race with their boat, the Runteas Pich Sen Chey (Thunder Diamond Sen Chey).

While their traditional cheerleader and guide helms the boat, the dancer who sits at the front of the boat, known as the rom kabal touk, inspires pride and confidence in the women.

Joining the 40 women who make up the team are a couple of men with faces covered in powder and makeup. “We still need men to steer,” said Ms. Nearn. The men said that they are 100 percent in support of the women and are 80 to 90 percent sure they will win. 

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