The Cambodia Sailing Federation (CSF) in back in action with an eye towards the 2023 Southeast Asian Games.
A few days back, the CSF staged the 2022 National Sailing Championship at the Ream Beach in Sihanoukville to prepare Cambodian sailors for what is expected to be a grueling competition against their counterparts from Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and other countries.
The latest National Sailing Championship came on the heels of the Southeast Asian Sailing Championship 2021, which drew participants from Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines and Malaysia.
The 27 participants, many of them serving in the Cambodian Navy, competed in five categories: Windsurfing Open, Windsurfing Techno Open, Byte Boat Open, ILCA Open and Optimist Open.
In fact, Cambodian sailors train most of the time at the Ream Naval Base in Sihanoukville.
“We need to build the capacity of our people for the SEA Games,” CSF Secretary-General Som Sothrithypong said, apparently referring to athletes, coaches, support officials and referees. “We are doing this to prepare ourselves for the SEA Games.”
Sailing is one of 38 regular sports included in the next SEA Games, which Cambodia is hosting for the first time in its history.
The 2021 Vietnam SEA Games, which was only held after a year-long delay, did not include sailing. The lack of facilities suitable for the sport reportedly influenced the decision of Vietnamese authorities not to include sailing on the final list.
Cambodia is primed to win medals in sailing in the next SEA Games, especially that it will be held on home soil. The sailing competitions for the Games are going to be held in the coastal city of Sihanoukville, according to the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC).
Cambodian sailors won eight medals during the Southeast Asian Sailing Championship for their best performance in an international competition.
Cambodian athletes also experienced moderate success in the 2017 SEA Games (Malaysia), 2019 SEA Games (Philippines) and Johor Sailing Regatta (Malaysia), 2018 Asian Games (Indonesia), 39th Singapore Open Windsurfing Championships 2020, among other international competitions.
Old-timers dominate the competition
Veteran sailors won most of the top spots in the 2022 National Sailing Championship.
Keo Phearun topped Windsurfing Open, with Pal Seila and Keo Pheanun grabbing the second and third spots, respectively.
The loss of Seila was surprising in light of his impressive performance in the Southeast Asian tournament, where he placed first in Windsurfing RS:One.
Kong Samrach pointed the way in Windsurfing Techno Open, winning the race with ease over Prum Vandy (2nd) and Mounh Phannak (3rd).
The ILCA Open competition had Nhov Chan as the overall winner, followed by Son Chandoeun (2nd) and Sambath Johnson (3rd).
In the Byte Boat Open, it was the turn of Chan Sok Veasna to dominate, with Thouch Ly Ing and Mach Rith Vong placing second and third, respectively.
Tith Sovanna, Bo Sam Yi and Thoeun David occupied the top three spots in the Optimist Open event.
Sailing, according to reports in the local media, has been making a headway under the leadership of CSF President Gordon Tang, who is also a prominent businessman residing in Singapore.
CSF official admitted as such that there are still many challenges they are facing since the Federation was established in 2017. Cambodia subsequently became a member of World Sailing, the global governing body for the sport, in 2017.
These include challenges related to finances, infrastructure, manpower, among others.
This article is adapted from BPVE SPORT Cambodia, reported and edited from the great team – Cambodia Sports Review.