Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Khmer Boxers to Attend the World Vovinam Championship in Vietnam

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Cambodia plans to send 12 Vovinam boxers to the 2009 World Vovinam Championship and the Asian Indoor Games for competitions on July 26-27 in Ho Chi Minh City and November 20-28 in Hanoi, Vietnam. Among the 12 Vovinam boxers seven are male and five are female.

About 30 different countries will also send their boxers to attend the competition in Vietnam, according to the World Vovinam Federation. The World Vovinam Championship will be organized by the World Vovinam Federation and the Asian Indoor Games will be prepared by the Asia Olympic Committee.

Rat Sokhorn, President of the Cambodian Vovinam Federation (CVF) and Advisor to the National Assembly’s President Samdech Heng Samrin, said the Asian Indoor Games will allow Cambodian Vovinam boxers to attend the international competition to earn medals and honor for their country.

Sokhorn said this is the second time that Vovinam boxers will be able to participate in the international competition and will allow them to improve their skills by learning and exchanging techniques with international Vovinam boxers.

He emphasized that although Vovinam is a new sport for Cambodians, with their hard training and talent, he hopes that they will be able to bring the success to the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“My main objective is to promote the sport to Cambodian children and youths so they can avoid the use of drugs and gambling in order to improve their health and contribute to the development of human resources and progress in Cambodia,” Sakhorn said.

Sokhorn said Vovinam, or Viêt Võ Dao, is a Vietnamese form of martial arts that was founded in 1938. He was the first Cambodian to train in the Vovinam style and obtained a level five black belt from the Ho Chi Minh Vovinam Federation in 1980.

Initially, Sakhorn introduced this sport to Cambodia in 2005 and later reintroduced it in 2008 through the establishment the Cambodia Vovinam Federation.

“I decided to introduce Vovinam to the Cambodian people because I wanted to promote this sport and contribute to better health among our people, especially Cambodian youth,” Sokhorn said.

Sokhorn said Viêt Võ Dao history is strictly tied to the history of Vietnamese people and accurately reflects their spirit. The sport is characterized by the fact that it is not the invention of one person, but it is the achievement of an entire population that, during its history, has had to constantly struggle in order to survive.

Sokhorn described Vovinam as similar to the Korean martial art Taikwando, which is practiced both with and without weapons and is based on the principle of between hard and soft. The practice of Vovinam uses the hands, elbows and kicks as well as other techniques including punching, kicking, wrestling, sword, staff, axe, folding fan and others.

He said the sport is currently showcased at the Southeast Asian Games, adding that about 60 countries are members of the Asian Vovinam Federation.

In addition to participating in the Asian Indoor Games, Sokhorn said that CVF will organize the World Wide Vovinam National Championships at the end of this year in Phnom Penh. The organization also plans to send the Cambodian Vovinam Team to the 2009 SEA Games in Vientiane, Laos, as well as to other international competitions in the future.

To promote Vovinam boxing in Cambodia, Sokhorn said CVF plans to train high school students, policemen, military police and the Royal Cambodia Armed Forces in this form of martial arts so that they can use it for self protection and country protection in the future.

They will also lobby to foreign businessmen to invest in Cambodia and provide jobs in the Cambodian sports industry.

Hok Chheang Kim, CVF Secretary-General, said Vovinam was officially recognized by Cambodian Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport to be part of the Worldwide National Competition and SEA Games.

Chheang Kim said it will potentially become sport where players can earn honor and medals for the country in both national and international tournaments. Since the establishment of the CVF in 2008, the sport has attracted many young people in Cambodia, he said.

According to a CVF report, there are about 18 Vovinam clubs with 100 boxers in Cambodia. ////


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