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Cambodia’s taekwondo icon bounces back

Eileen McCormick and Say Tola / Khmer Times Share:
Sorn Seavmey is staying optimistic. KT/Yeun Punlue

Cambodia’s taekwondo 2018 Asian Games gold medal hope, and national icon, Sorn Seavmey has fully recovered from a knee surgery and dispelled rumours that the government did not pay for her operation in South Korea.

Speaking to Khmer Times’ weekend edition, Good Times2, at the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia head office early this week, Seavmey said her brother’s posting on Facebook two months ago that she did not receive support from the Cambodian government for her knee ligament surgery, after she was injured a year ago, was not true. The posting went viral on social media.

“Two months ago, I was in a wheelchair and emotions were running high,” the 22-year-old said.

“My brother was really scared, confused and worried for me. I guess his emotions got the better of him. He did not know what was going on between my coach, manager and the government. My manager felt that my brother was not being patient enough.”

Seavmey, who works in the elite bodyguard unit, said Prime Minister Hun Sen paid $10,000 for her operation in South Korea.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen paid $10,000 himself for my surgery. The Facebook incident, which unfortunately went viral, was just a misunderstanding as emotions were running high.”

Seavmey said she still has the same agility, speed and confidence that saw her win gold at the 2014 Asian Games.

“I am focused on winning gold again at the next Asian Games in 2018. I knew after I won my first gold medal that I was never going to stop,” she said.

“After my surgery I don’t feel I have anything to worry about. I can still fight and prove myself in Indonesia.”

Recalling her injury, Seavmey said: “It was very hard and I was so concerned that I would never get back to the level I was at before. I was also worried my fighting career would be over.”

“I learned to cope with loneliness when I was undergoing surgery in South Korea and recovering after the operation. The only person who was with me was my coach, Mr Choi Yong Sok,” she added.

“My family could not be with me because my sister was six months pregnant. Also, my mother is too old and the cold late autumn weather in South Korea would have been too harsh for her to deal with.”

In 2016, Seavmey qualified for the Rio Olympic Games.

“I am happy that I can represent my country and be a role model to so many people. I use this as something to push myself for my nation. At this stage, it is not personal or for my family but for the country,” she said. (Read full interview in today’s Good Times2)

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