BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA
The six Cambodian delegates will leave for the 13th World Swimming Championship, scheduled over nine days from the July 25 to August 2, 2009 in Rome, Italy. The delegates will depart on July 21. Their number will include two national male swimmers and a couple of female junior swimmers. They will be supported by one coach and one member of the sport’s governing body.
The World Swimming Championship is organized by the International Amateur Swimming Federation (IASF), which was founded in the 1950s, according to Hem Thon, National Coach and Secretary General of the Khmer Amateur Swimming Federation (KASF). He also said that 115 countries besides Cambodia would send swimmers to Italy to take part in the competition.
“This is the third year that Cambodia has sent a swimming team to the World Swimming Championships. We are looking forward to competing with the best swimmers in the world and hopefully winning a couple of medals for our country. It is also be a great experience for our national team and they will learn much during their adventures in Italy,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly during an interview on July 16.
The Secretary General said that the competition would also allow Cambodian participation in the selection of new Executive Members for the IASF. The Old Guard will step down following the conclusion of their terms of office in July 2009. As a member of the IASF, Cambodia will help select future members to work for further development and progress in the sport.
Besides attending the 13th World Swimming Championship in Italy, the KASF also plans to send the national team to the SEA Games, scheduled for December this year, said Hem Thon, adding that this year’s games will be held in Laos.
In preparation for these high profile competitions, Hem Thon said all national representatives attend a grueling training schedule from Monday to Friday at the National Stadium Pool in Phnom Penh. He provides the training, alongside a number of national coaches, he said.
“I expect that although our swimmers will be very lucky to f\get a medal, they will at least perform a lot better than the majority of nations taking part in the competition,” he said. “They will also gain further experience at international level, which should set us in good stead for the SEA Games.”
Hem Thon said that Cambodia numbers 47 swimmers in the national team, eight of which are female and 14 of which represent their country at international competition.
Hem Thon Vitini, 16, will attend the competition in Rome. Thon Vitini has participated in six international swimming competitions already in her short sporting career. She has been thrice to France, once to the Middle East, once to Japan and once to China.
“I am happy to represent my country again at international competition. The training is fairly tough, but I am young and can handle it. It would give me great pleasure if I could return to Phnom Penh clutching a medal.////