Cambodian fighters brought back silver and bronze medals from the recently concluded International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) Junior and Veteran World Championships in Minsk, Belarus. The seven-athlete delegation were welcomed by officials at Phnom Penh airport yesterday upon their return.
Chan Tharath, 15, garnered a silver medal after progressing through the round only to lose out to his Russian opponent in the final of the -49kg category.
Prior to the final, he was ranked number 1 in the group before defeating opponents from Estonia, Greece, Japan, Argentina, Jordan, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine. A further bronze also boosted the kingdom’s tally in Minsk.
The Cambodia ITF Taekwondo Federation sent seven athletes to compete placing high hopes on the chance of medals with leaders of the federation urging competitors to do their best to bring silverware home.
It is the second time for Cambodia to participate in the prestigious event. In 2002, the kingdom won a solitary bronze medal. There will be more chances for medals this year as Cambodian will compete in 45kg, 51kg, 57kg, 64kg and a veterans event.
The kingdom recently saw much success in May at the 9th Asian Taekwon-Do ITF Championships in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Cambodia sent 24 athletes to compete for medals in the regional event with competitors among a field of 20 other nations. 13-year old Sopheak Chan Oudom topped the medal tally for Cambodia, with a remarkable haul of three gold, a silver and a bronze. Other medallists included Pal Chivorn and Mat Sok Mean.
Upon their return the athletes, coaches, and ITF Cambodia Federation officials met Prime Minister Hun Sen where they were handed their cash prizes. Chan Oudom, with his arm in a sling, was the recipient of the largest prize of $17,000 (72,000,000 riel) from the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports, as well as a further $ 17,000 from the Prime Minister in a private capacity.
In March, The Taekwondo Federation (ITF) said it would be pushing to include the sport at the 32nd Phnom Penh SEA Games in 2023.