Asian Games Taekwondo Champ Gets Gifts From King Sihamoni

Sorn Seavmey, the 19-year-old who won Cambodia’s first-ever Asian Games gold medal earlier this month, met the King and Queen Mother at the Royal Palace on Saturday and received gifts and cash in honor of her victory.

Ms. Seavmey made history when she defeated Iranian Fatemeh Rouhini to win women’s taekwondo gold at the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. Since returning to Cambodia she has been swamped with offers of sponsorship and feted by Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Peace Palace.

“Sorn Seavmey met His Majesty the King and the Queen Mother on Sunday for about 30 minutes at the Royal Palace, where they gave her gifts, including money,” said Oum Daravuth, an adviser to the king’s cabinet.

Mr. Daravuth said that Queen Mother Norodom Monineath also gave Ms. Seavmey a selection of books from the collection of late King Father Norodom Sihanouk. The books contain stories of Cambodian sporting achievements of the past.

“The Queen Mother gave the books…so Sorn Seavmey [can learn] about other gold medal sportsmen in the King Norodom Sihanouk regime,” he said.

Ms. Seavmey was accompanied to the palace by her mother Suon Chanthy, Tourism Minister Thong Khon and Vath Chamroeun, president of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia.

Mr. Chamroeun said that the king and queen mother each gave the athlete a substantial cash gift.

“Our majesty the King Norodom Sihamoni gave $3,000 and one trophy to Ms. Seavmey, and our Queen Mother gave $2,000 and a glass etching of our father King Norodom Sihanouk and some other sports history books,” Mr. Chamroeun said.

Mr. Chamroeun said that since returning with her first gold medal, which Mr. Hun Sen tried on during their Peace Palace meeting, Ms. Seavmey has been the recipient of some $100,000 in cash from “donors, our government and the King.”

Ms. Seavmey, who failed the national high school exam in August, was also granted a grade 12 certificate by Mr. Hun Sen, allowing her to enroll in university this year.

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