BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA
Cambodia plans to send six nationally selected gymnastic players to the “First Aerobic Asia Championship” on March 25-30 in Bangkok, Thailand, said Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism, Chairman of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) and President of the Cambodian Gymnastic Federation (CGF).
Thong Khon said the Aerobic Asia Championship will give the gymnasts the chance to compete on an international level in order to gain medal and honor for Cambodia. Their participation will also allow them to improve, learn and exchange techniques with international gymnasts in order to prepare for future international competitions.
“I think that gymnastics is one of the Cambodia’s most potential sports, in which our competitors can easily earn medals for the Kingdom of Cambodia,” Thong Khon said. “I hope that through their hard training, previous experience in international competitions, and strong financial support from the Cambodian Gymnastic Federation and Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, our Cambodian gymnastics team will bring success and medals to Cambodia.”
Last year, Cambodia sent a gymnastics team to an international competition in Thailand, where more than 40 countries participated. They won the third place in the competitions, according to Thong Khon.
Nay Phonna, Secretary General of the Cambodian Gymnastic Federation, said the third team Cambodia will be sending to participate in an international competition in Thailand. He said the team of three male and three female gymnasts with one coach will leave for the “First Aerobic Asia Championship” on March 25.
During last year’s international gymnastics competition in Thailand, the Cambodian team won six medals, including one silver and five bronzes, Phonna said. In 2005, the gymnastic team won a bronze medal.
In addition to March’s competition, he said the Cambodian Gymnastic Federation also plans to send three gymnasts to the “Hay Fong Indoor Games,” which will take place in the middle of October 2009, in Hanoi, Vietnam. The federation also plans to send eight nationally selected competitors to attend the “Junior and Senior First Southeast Championship 2009” in December in Thailand.
To prepare for the international competition, Phonna said the gymnastic team is training hard every day. He said that he as well as the other national coaches conduct the practices at the National Olympic Stadium, in Phnom Penh.
To improve Cambodian gymnastic team’s skills and technique, Phonna said his federation hired an expert coach from North Korea in 2006. He said that the team was also trained by a volunteer and experienced aerobic coach from New Zealand in 2008.
To promote the gymnastics in Cambodia, the Embassy of China in Cambodia and the Republic of Korea have donated materials to Cambodian Gymnastic Federation in 2008.
“I hope that through the previous experience, hard training and patience, and with compilation of training materials, our gymnastic team will able to earn more medals at international competitions or the SEA Games in the future,” Phonna said.
He said that currently, there are a total of 10 gymnastic trainees in the federation and there are 10 gymnastics clubs in Cambodia.