Cambodia has put on its best ever showing at the Southeast Asian Games, taking 18 medals home from Thailand.
Over the closing weekend of the biennial games, the men’s beach volleyball team beat the Philippines in a third place play-off to win bronze, Puthearim Chhoeun won a bronze medal in the women’s taekwondo 51-kg category and the men’s petanque triples team won a silver medal.
Overall this year, Cambodia won two golds, three silvers and two bronze medals in petanque; a silver and two bronzes in taekwondo; a silver and a bronze in athletics; three bronzes in wrestling; and bronze medals in tennis, boxing and beach volleyball. The number was up six from the 12 medals won in the 2005 games in the Philippines.
Undersecretary of State at the Ministry for Education, Youth and Sport Bou Chumserei said he was pleased with Cambodia’s showing.
“This breaks the record,” he said of Cambodia’s medal count.
He added that athletes who won medals at the games will be paid a cash reward once Prime Minister Hun Sen approves a new draft law, put forward earlier this year by the ministry.
Bou Chumserei said gold, silver and bronze medal winners at the SEA Games would receive $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 respectively.
Olympic Committee Secretary-General Mean Sarin said the performance of the Cambodian team at the games had exceeded expectations.
“We are very proud to have won more medals this year,” he said.
He added that while the athletes may get a reward for competing, money was not their prime motivation.
“Competing internationally is about national honor,” he said.
In the overall table of medal winners, Cambodia came ninth—one place higher than 2005. Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam came first, second and third respectively.