Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sorn Elit, the Tallest Cambodian Taekwando Champion

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

There are 18 Taekwondo fighters on the national team, according to Hem Samnang, Secretary General of the Cambodian Taekwondo Federation (CTF). He was speaking to The Southeast Asia Weekly on July 22.

The Secretary General said that Sorn Elit, 22, is currently the best Taekwondo fighter in Cambodia. He has attended many competitions both at home and abroad and has achieved success in both fields. In 2008, he won the national heavyweight title in the Taekwondo championships.

“I am very proud of Sorn Elit as he is the best fighter in Cambodia,” Samnang said. “I believe that he will continue to bring honor to the country, the sport and himself as he competes in still more competitions at home and in the international fighting arena. He is completely committed to his training schedule and is a credit to the sport.”

The Secretary General said that to improve Elit’s skills, the CTF sent him to get Taekwondo training in South Korea over two weeks in 2007. The CTF plans to send him to South Korea again in October to prepare for the SEA Games. These are scheduled for late December 2009 in Vientiane, Laos, he said. Before this however, the CTF will send the fighter to compete in Bangkok, Thailand for the Martial Arts Championship on August 1-9, 2009. Elit said that with his training and commitment, he is likely to be bringing back more medals from these competitions.

Sorn Elit was born in 1987 in Phnom Penh. He is the youngest of three brothers and also has three sisters.

Elit studied at Russey Keo High School in Phnom Penh, completing grade 9 in 2002. Elit is 1.96 meters tall and weighs in at 90 kilograms. This makes him the tallest Taekwondo contender that Cambodia is able to field.

He started Taekwondo training with Mr. Choi Yong Sok, a Korean Taekwondo Coach in 2007, in Phnom Penh to improve his health and simply for the enjoyment of the sport. His younger sister, Sorn Davin, 18, is also training in Taekwondo under the tutelage of her brother. Under his guidance, she has reached a standard where she to can represent Cambodia on the national Taekwondo Team.

“I trained as a boxer when I was a child, competing in 20 universal boxing bouts with ten wins and ten losses. I turned to Taekwondo in 2007. It has always been my dream to be ranked amongst the top ten fighters in the country and Taekwondo has helped me realize this dream.”

Elit pointed out that since 2007 he has competed in three international competitions and won three medals for Cambodia. The first competition took place in South Korea in 2007 and he won a silver medal. The second competition was part of the 2007 SEA Games in Thailand and he won a bronze medal. His third international outing saw him in action at the ninth ATF Taekwondo Championships 2009 in Vietnam and he took home another bronze medal. These competitions are in addition to his placing at the National Taekwondo championships in 2008.

“My dream has come true because I am able to train and represent my country in international competitions. I will continue to train and fight hard, both to promote the sport and to bring honor to Cambodia,” Elit said.

In preparation for future international tournaments, Sorn Samnang said that Elit is now training four hours each day. He added that both he and his younger sister are now training with Mr. Choi Yong Sok, along with other members of the national Taekwondo team. Training takes place at the Cambodian Taekwondo Federation located in the National Stadium in Phnom Penh. ///

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