Trail World Championships: Hongkongers represent Cambodia, Ireland and Ukraine, as Leng finds sense of belonging

Mat Leng believed he did not belong growing up in France, but now feels at home after travelling to his father’s native Cambodia.

Mat Leng was immediately embraced by his father’s native Cambodia when he visited on holiday and is now preparing to represent the Southeast Asian country at the Trail World Championships.

Hong Kong-based Leng grew up in France. His father had left Cambodia, and his other relatives were killed in the genocide. He had no links left to the country, but in Europe he was always made to feel different.

“France has a lot of problems with immigration,” he said. “People would call me Chinese, which is funny because I always considered myself French. It’s just kids calling you out as different. But it’s derogatory slang.”

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