Jet skier shares million dollar vision for Cambodia’s future of jet skiing

Cambodian jet skier Sali Umet is currently constructing a jet ski training centre in Kratie province.

Chhorn Norn

Chhorn Norn

The Phnom Penh Post


Cambodian jet skier Sali Umet posted his photo during the 32nd Sea Games in Cambodia. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/PHNOM PENH POST

August 15, 2023

PHNOM PENH – Cambodian jet skier Sali Umet is currently constructing a jet ski training centre in Kratie province. He envisages the facility as encompassing training for the national team, his personal development, and the empowerment of younger generations, all with the goal of bolstering the sport in Cambodia.

To bring his dream to fruition, he has purchased more than 10ha of land in Kranhoung Senchey village and commune in Kratie’s Snuol district. The funds came from his own pocket, and were drawn from his winnings at past international competitions.

His investment in the project amounts to around $1 million, but the amount pales when compared to his drive to offer young Cambodians a platform for practicing jet skiing and becoming proficient successors to his title.

Umet was quoted by the Ministry of Interior’s Sports Council as saying: “I plan to excavate the land and construct a jet ski training course, as the national team is currently forced to train abroad.”

“With no designated facilities available, I sought assistance from my sponsor at a club in Thailand to acquire an excavator. I have now purchased over 10ha and will create a facility that will nurture, train and cultivate interest in water sports among the younger generation,” he said.

The land was acquired using the funds he earned from the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, where he clinched a groundbreaking gold and bronze medals for Cambodia.

Umet’s accomplishments continued to shine during the 32nd SEA Games in 2023, held in Cambodia. His impressive performances, capturing both gold and bronze medals, further elevated his renown.

Having secured gold, silver, and bronze medals, along with numerous trophies from past Asian and ASEAN championships, his aspiration now is to pass on his wealth of knowledge and technique to future competitors.

“If they wish to come and train, I won’t charge them. I want to utilise my skill and technique to prepare them for international competitions. In this way, they will realise my strength, and those who succeed me will also be strong,” he said.

“I don’t rely on grants from anyone. The owner of the Flamingo Club in Thailand is my main supporter, consistently encouraging me,” he added.

He has been working to establish the facility for several years. With the goal of opening before the 2025 SEA Games, construction is currently about 30 per cent complete.

He disclosed that part of his motivation arose from negative comments made by some Thais while he and the Cambodian team were practicing in Thailand.

“As Cambodians, when others gossip about us, it stings, but we hold back. As Prime Minister Hun Sen said, as athletes,

we need patience. Violence and impatience are self-destructive. The desire to address this issue led me to invest approximately $1 million in building the training ground,” he explained.

“Once the centre is established, I will train the younger generation to excel and secure medals across various countries and events. I have confidence in showcasing my capabilities to my compatriots. My affection for Cambodia runs deep; I’m Cambodian, and therefore, my duty is towards the Kingdom. I won’t divert my efforts to help other nations. If I were to assist another country, it’d be better if I quit,” he concluded.


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