Cambodian Joins International Ranks of Karate Referees 

Chea Thary speaks to reporters upon arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport.

PHNOM PENH – Chea Thary is proud to be the only Cambodian woman appointed by the Asian Karate Federation (AKF) as a member of its referee committee.

The appointment came at the recently concluded 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, after Thary’s years of dedication in the sport.

Appointed directly by the AKF executive council, only one person can be appointed from each country. 

Upon returning from China, Thary said she had gained extensive experience as an international referee among 38 referees at the Games. 

“Although it was my first time on the international stage, I did not encounter any difficulties,” she said.

“As there are common rules for both national and international karate competitions, most notably, my past experience from international training courses abroad made my role easier.” 

Thary encouraged all athletes to be more committed in their training and understanding the rules of the game as they may become referees or judges in future international competitions.

She said that while the players perform to win medals, the referee is also part of the competition.

“Athletes are the frontline competitors, but referees, judges and other officials assist the athletes to reach our collective goals,” she said. 

Most importantly, the athletes may become the dependable seniors for the next generation.  

Thary has spent seven years as a referee, concentrating on training courses and striving in pursuit of a certificate from the AKT.

She was one of two Cambodian referees officiating at the Games with the other being Plong Pich Akara in football.

Cambodia won a bronze medal at the Games in karate.


Originally written in Khmer for ThmeyThmey, this article was translated by Rin Ousa for Cambodianess.

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