Friday, July 3, 2009

Taing Kimhong, Young Cambodian Table Tennis Champion

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Oknha Rat Sokhorn, Advisor to the National Assembly President Samdech Heng Samrin and President of the Cambodian Table Tennis Federation (CTTF), said that Cambodia has over 20 capable table tennis players. He revealed these figures at interview with The Southeast Asia Weekly on June 25.

Sokhorn, who is the former national table tennis champion from 1981 to 1987, said that one of the best table tennis players is Taing Kimhong, 21, who is the only player to win consistently at national table tennis championships from 2006 to 2009. He has been attended many competitions, both local and international; he won a bronze medal in international competition in 2007.

“I am proud of Taing Kimhong and I believe that he will continue to train hard and represent Cambodia at international level in the future.”

The President said that to improve Kimhong’s table tennis skills, he has used his own money last year to send Taing Kimhong for training in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He said that he also planed to send him for the further table tennis training in China or Vietnam in the future.

The CTTF plans to send Taing Kimhong to the Nanning International Table Tennis Invitational Tournament, which will take place at the end of October 2009 in China. He will also participate in the 25th SEA Games in Vientiane, Laos, at the end of December this year, according to Sokhorn.

“Taing Kimhong is the only capable player for Cambodia. I hope that with his training, patience, talent and experience, he will win a medal from one or both of these international tournaments. To prepare for the competition, I will use my own money to support him for training at the overseas,” Sokhorn said.

Kimhong was born in Phnom Penh in 1988. He has an older brother and sister. His father and mother are teachers and they are now teaching Khmer and Chinese Literature at a Chinese private school in Phnom Penh.

Kimhong studied at the Bak Touk High School in Phnom Penh and earned a Baccalaureate in 2007. He is now studying Engineering with the Institute of Technology in Cambodia (ITC) in Phnom Penh. He started playing table tennis with Sokhorn in 2003 to improve his health.

“I have played table tennis since I was 15 years old. It has always been my dream to be a top ten player, represent my nation and become the national champion,” Kimhong told The Southeast Asia during an interview on June 25.

To prepare for future international tournaments, Kimhong said that he is training four hours per day. He added that Oknha Rat Sokhorn trained him and other veteran coaches at the CTTF located in the National Olympic Stadium, Phnom Penh.

Kimhong continued to say that with coaching from Oknha Rat Sokhorn and his own desire to win, another medal should be brought home to Cambodia soon.

“I am happy as my dreams have come true and I am able to represent my country. I will do my best in competition with foreign players for the glory of my country,” Kimhong said.

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