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As Seavmey departs for South Korea, PPCBank pledges support

Ismail Vorajee / Khmer Times Share:
Cambodia’s nine-strong Taekwondo squad travel for a two-month training stint in South Korea. KT / Pann Rachana

As the kingdom’s athletes target an unprecedented haul of medals from the upcoming 2019 Manila SEA Games, Phnom Penh Commercial Bank (PPCBank) has announced continued support of the kingdom’s promising (WT) Taekwondo athletes.

Yesterday afternoon, the Cambodia Taekwondo Federation and nine of its athletes, including 2014 Asian Games gold medal sensation Sorn Seavmey, participated in a send-off ceremony for the national team as they departed for a vital two-month training stint in South Korea.

PPCBank president & Chief Executive Officer Chang Moo Shin, speaking at the company headquarters in Phnom Penh alongside Federation co-vice presidents Dr. Chrin Sothea and Hem Samnang, said he hoped the support would help the kingdom’s budding youngsters progress as well as upgrade the already considerable skills of stars like Seavmey.

He announced that the bank had allocated sponsorship to cover the squad’s transportation, airfare, training, accommodation and related food expenses.

Reacting to the generous funding from the bank, Dr. Sothea said training in South Korea would not have been possible without their support.

“First of all, and on behalf of the Minister of Education, Youth & Sports, Hang Chuon Naron, we would like to express our heartfelt thanks to PPCBank and the president, said Dr. Sothea. “This is the third time we are gaining sponsorship from PPCBank and without this, the quality of training would be diluted. With their support, you have made everything possible.”“Sending our athletes to training in Korea is not possible without PPCBank’s support, he added. “Even if we work very hard, we cannot get enough budget to cover between now and December. With deep appreciation, we wish PPCBank and the president the greatest of success.”

The athletes will undergo training from elite and respected South Korean coaches who the Federation claim will help to update their techniques.

“It is a fast sport and the [climate] conditions there, including the weather and altitude help to promote spirit and readiness. When they come back [to Cambodia], they will learn all these lessons and apply them [for 2019 Manila SEA Games],” said Dr. Sothea.

With regards to diet and nutrition, the athletes were prepared for changes to their diet and they would seek to learn from respected South Korean and Team Cambodia coach Choi Yong Sok.

“[Diet] is very important and as the Games will this year be in Manila so things may be a little different for our athletes. Even our elite athletes like Seavmey, find it hard to eat sometimes because of issues like jetlag. Such things make our athletes [uncomfortable] and feel different from home and that’s why we need them to get used to some food that they can eat.”

However, he said that these were minor issues which any budding medallist would need to overcome.

PPCBank President Chang Moo Shin (2nd from left) announced sponsorship for Cambodia’s Taekwondo team.KT / Yeun Punlue

“Taekwondo is a sport of discipline. If they don’t have discipline, they can’t do anything.”

Seavmey added that through training in South Korea she hoped she would be ready to compete for Cambodia again, adding that the support of institutions like PPCBank make all the difference for athletes from countries with less developed sporting infrastructure.

“For me, I’m so happy and excited because not everyone gets this chance, said Seavmey on the sidelines of the press conference. “We are important individuals and we wear Cambodia’s flag to compete for Cambodians. So, we will go and face up to each opponent, no matter if our experience [is lacking] or not. We received a lot of experience from [the World Championships] in Manchester. During our last [SEA Games] training in Cambodia we trained less. But now we are ready and these two months of training we can receive new experiences because in South Korea there are a lot of new tools which Cambodia lacks.”

Seavmey won Cambodia’s first Asian Games gold medal in any discipline at the regional competition placing first in the middleweight division at the 2014 Games in Incheon, South Korea.

She also has the distinction of being a multiple SEA Games medallist and claimed victory in the middleweight category at the 2016 Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament in Manila, Philippines netting her ticket to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Officials have targeted a record-breaking medal haul at this year’s 2019 Manila SEA Games, the region’s premier multi-disciplinary sports event.

The Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports released a list of 400 athletes and delegates selected to represent the kingdom, who will participate in 30 sports [176 disciplines]. Seavmey is a favourite to bring home a Taekwondo gold medal.

In January, PPCBank signed an agreement to sponsor Cambodia’s South Korea-based Sruong Pheavy, a 3-cushion billiards champion.

In August, the bank, a subsidiary of South Korea JB Financial Group, showed strong market performance generating almost $8 million in net profit during the first half of the year.

After the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations in 1997, the relationship between South Korea and Cambodia has rapidly strengthened. Trade value between the two countries exceeded over $860 million last year, while by latest estimates, 175 Korean companies are invested in Cambodia. Almost 250,000 Koreans visit Cambodia each year, while an estimated 5,000 Koreans residing in the kingdom. Nearly 6,500 Cambodian workers are employed in Korea.

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