New Team, Competition to Honor Swimming Legend

A new Cambodian swimming team and national competition will be created and named for 1960s swimming great Hem Thon, who died Monday, Commerce Minister Sun Chanthol said Wednesday.

Mr. Chanthol, who was trained by Hem Thon in the early 1970s and is also president of the Khmer Swimming Federation, said he would oversee the creation of the Hem Thon Swimming Team in the hope that it would breed a new generation of young swimmers, along with the Hem Thon Memorial Cup.

“I want to create a swimming team and cup with his name in order to show my respect to the spirit of Mr. Hem Thon, who was my personal coach,” Mr. Chanthol said.

Hem Thon passed away on Monday evening after a long battle with lung disease and hepatitis.

Hem Thon won 12 international medals in the 1960s and 1970s and later became deputy secretary-general of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia.

Hem Kiry, Hem Thon’s son and deputy secretary-general of the Khmer Swimming Federation, said he would coach his father’s eponymous team.

“I’m very proud of my father and I will continue his legacy in the sport of swimming,” he said.

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