First Selections Made For Cambodia’s Olympic Team

Cambodia’s two track and field entrants at the 1996 Summer Olympics in the US city of Atlanta are the only two athletes already chosen to represent the country at the 2000 Games in Sydney.

To Rithya, who finished 105th out of 124 runners in the mara­thon in 1996, will again compete in the long-distance running event.

Ouk Chanthann ran the women’s 100 meters in 14.82 seconds in 1996, the slowest time of the 56 runners entered. She will be entered in the same event when the Games begin this September.

The International Olympic Committee, in an effort to have as many countries participate as possible, allows some countries like Cambodia to enter two athletes in track and field and two athletes in swimming, even if their times are too slow to qualify compared to other athletes selected from around the world.

The two national swim team selections have not yet been decided. In 1996, national swim team coach Hem Thon took his two children. Hem Raksmey, then 14 years old, swam the women’s 100-meter breaststroke in 44.68 seconds, finishing last in her heat of six swimmers. Hem Lumphat was disqualified in the men’s 200-meter individual medley for incorrectly touching a wall of the pool.

Cambodia will have a total of six athletes at the Games, and there are four leading candidates for the two remaining slots, according to Prum Bunyi, cabinet director of the National Olympic Committee of Cambo­dia. Sok Sarom (men’s shooting), Sum Sok La (women’s shooting), Thoeum Hieng Sotra (tae kwon do) and Pel Vanna (tennis) all have applications to compete filed with the IOC.

Meas Sarin, secretary-general for the Olympic committee, and Prum Bunyi are conducting four days of seminars this week in Prey Veng province.

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