December 21, 2022
PHNOM PENH – The Cambodian national wrestling team won 19 medals at the 2022 Southeast Asian Wrestling Championships hosted in the Kingdom this year, confirming the belief of senior officials from the United World Wrestling (UWW) that Cambodia is well prepared and capable of hosting the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in May, 2023.
At the championship tournament held at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) from December 14-18, the national wrestling team won three gold, three silver and 13 bronze medals in both men’s and women’s Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling.
The achievements mean that not only has the Cambodia Wrestling Federation (CWF) achieved its goal set before the competition of winning three gold medals and more than 10 medals in total, but actually surpassed it, officials said.
Although the number of medals won by Cambodia is less than that clinched by Vietnam – which took 18 gold, 11 silver and one bronze – and Indonesia – which got six gold, nine silver and three bronze – CWF vice-president Casey Barnett considered the 19 medals as the best result that the Cambodian wrestling team has ever achieved.
Vietnam took home the most medals, with 18 gold, 11 silver and one bronze. Cambodia’s 19 medals put them in second place and Indonesia came in third with six gold, nine silver and three bronze.
“We won more medals than in past international competitions, like at the 2013 SEA Games, where we won 10 … This time we won a total of 19 medals, with six medals in Greco-Roman, seven in women’s freestyle and six in men’s freestyle, so we got a really good result,” Casey said.
Cambodian-Iranian Su Bali won gold medals in both the Greco-Roman 130kg and freestyle 125kg. Meanwhile, another Cambodian-Iranian, Mo Sari, won a gold medal in the freestyle’s 97kg weight class and a bronze medal in Greco-Roman wrestling.
The three silver medals were won by Chea Kanha in the 65kg class, Chey Chanrasmey in the 72kg class and Heng Ratha in the 92kg class.
“Through this competition, we have seen an increase in the skills of our wrestlers, and an increase in this skill gives us hope to win more medals at the 2023 SEA Games, but we also need to strengthen the capacity and quality of our national team even further,” added Barnett, who is also president of the Southeast Asian Wrestling Federation.
In addition to athletes winning medals, the Southeast Asian Wrestling Championships was organised to strengthen the leadership of technical officials ahead of the SEA Games.
Prior to the hosting of the event, the CWF held four separate training courses including international refereeing, international coaching, IT training courses and a joint training camp with all seven countries participating in the competition.
“Before the Southeast Asian Wrestling Championships, we had four separate training sessions and additional hands-on practice with experts from more than 10 countries. The event helped our technical officials to sharpen their skills to ensure that the management of the wrestling competition at the 2023 SEA Games will run smoothly. We now have control over the IT system and control over the athletes involved,” said Barnett.
Meanwhile, Niamkey Deqa, a senior official at the UWW, said she was impressed by the efforts of Cambodia as host and she believes that the Kingdom’s hosting of the SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games in 2023 will go smoothly and successfully.
“I am amazed that it ran so smoothly [although] this is the first time that Cambodia has hosted the Southeast Asian Wrestling Championships. I also am impressed with the abilities of the Cambodian technical officials who did a great job running this international event. So as the host of the 32nd SEA Games 2023, I expect that Cambodia will do great,” Deqa said.