The award-winning national paralympic athletics team said they are apprehensive about competing in this week’s Asean Para Games due to their lack of training and adequate artificial limbs.
“I am just not sure because I have had very short training time before the competition,” said 25-year-old Nhork Kimhor, who won two gold medals in track at the first Asean Para Games in Malaysia in 2001. Before the last competition he had three months of training, he said, pointing to his artificial foot which is showing signs of age. “If I have good artificial feet I can run faster,” he said.
The National Paralympic Committee of Cambodia is sending
15 disabled athletes—13 men and two women—to compete from Monday to Dec 29 in the second Asean Para Games in Hanoi, a committee official said Monday.
The athletes said that they will be using the same artificial feet that they used during the last games. National Paralympic Committee of Cambodia Secretary-General Yi Veasna said that because the committee lacks funding it has been forced to offer the athletes only two weeks of training before the event.
“Because the training is limited, it is necessary for the training federation to make sure the athletes practice a selection of athletics every day before going overseas to compete,” he said.
After the first Asean Para Games, the team returned home with 13 medals—six gold, five silver and two bronze. Yi Veasna said that Thailand is the only other Asean country that gives Cambodia any competition because the two countries’ disabled athletes are of equal ability.
“Through the sport disabled athletes can expose their ability,” he said. “Disabled people can do the same things other people can do if we offer them time and chances. They are just normal human beings.”
King Norodom Sihanouk offered $1,000, and Prime Minister Hun Sen donated more than $5,000 to assist participation costs. The Vietnamese government said it will cover the team’s travel and accommodation expenses.