Defeat of 2 Top Boxers Dims Medal Hopes

Cambodia’s medal hopes dimmed Wednesday as two top boxers lost to foreign fighters at the 22nd Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam, a boxing official said.

Oum Yourann, acting president of the Cambodian Amateur Boxing Federation, said Thurs­day he was upset by the defeat of the two tough young Cambodian boxers, who lost in elimination bouts.

Roeung Sarath, fighting in the 51-kg weight class and who won a bronze medal two years ago at the SEA Games in Malaysia, lost by judges’ decision to Hermen­sen B Ballo of Indonesia.

“First, we had hope in Sarath, but he faced the tougher boxer,” Oum Yourann said.

The Cambo­dian fighter should have ducked his opponent’s fists more quickly, he added.

Ven Dyaman, fighting in the 45-kg class, lost to Vietnamese boxer Le Van Tri when the referee stopped the bout in the third round, Oum Yourann said.

But Cambodia still has five fighters looking to win medals, he said.

As added incentive, TV5 station, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, and independent donors have promised re­wards to any boxer who wins a medal.

Oum Yourann said he himself will pay $100 for a gold medal, $70 for a silver and $50 for a bronze, and RCAF General Neang Phat has also pledged his personal money to victors.

Companies so far have donated about 12 million riel (about $3,000) to support the boxers’ continued training when they return from Vietnam, Oum Yourann said.

In an under-23 football match, the Burmese team defeated Cam­bo­dia, 6-0, on Wednesday.

Cambo­dia’s closest shot came in the 74th minute from 20 me­ters out, off the foot of striker Chea Virath. Burmese goalkeeper Aung Aung OO tipped the shot over the bar.

That contest followed a crushing 8-1 defeat to Malaysia on Sat­urday. Cambodia’s only goal of the SEA Games so far came with three minutes left in that match when Ung Kanyanith knocked in a close-range shot. (Additional re­porting by The Associated Press)


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