Taekwondo Bags 17 SEA Games Medals

Cambodian taekwondo WT fighters concluded the 32nd SEA Games in Phnom Penh on May 15 with 17 medals in total. Photo: Chhum Chantha

PHNOM PENH – Cambodian taekwondo WT fighters concluded the 32nd SEA Games in Phnom Penh on May 15 with 17 medals in total.

Two gold medals were claimed by established fighter Sorn Seavmey and Cambodian-American Cassandre Nicole Tubbs.

Starting on May 12, the tournament involved 10 countries. Host Cambodia bagged two gold medals, four silver and 11 bronze in the martial art.

Taekwondo fighter Keo Moni won bronze at the start of the competition in men’s freestyle individual on May 12.

For two days into the game, Cambodia saw no gold medals until the sporting history-making Sorn Seavmey won the first gold, beating Laotian Sonesavnh Sirmanotham in women’s over-73kg on May 14.

The four-gold medal holder Sorn Seavmey said despite the four-year pause of the taekwondo activity, she could beat her opponent due to her clear self-awareness. She knew her weak points and started working on them in preparation for the Games.

“I’ve always wanted to compete in front of my compatriots,” said Seavmey on May 14. “I had thought that in 2023, I would have been 28 with a family and children, which I meant I might not be able to compete. But I had a small wish that I would be competing again in my home country. With encouragement from my coaches and the surrounding people, I was able to compete again.”

She continued that after the comeback, she changed her fighting techniques in accordance with her physical strength which had deteriorated over the year.

“My strength is now 60 percent compared to my previous capacity,” she said. “This will be the last gold medal I claim for my country.”

On May 15, Cambodian-American Cassandre Nicole Tubbs won another gold medal, beating Vietnamese Khiem Bac Thi in the women’s under-67kg.

She won the first round with the second round being drawn.

This is her first SEA Games gold medal for Cambodia after having represented the country four times. The 24-year-old won bronze in Malaysia in 2017, silver in the Philippines in 2019, bronze in Vietnam in 2021, and gold in Cambodia in 2023.

Tubbs said she was excited that she could make the country proud. She was grateful for the support given to her by the Cambodian people.

“I love representing Cambodia and the support and love that I receive,” she said.

From Texas, Tubbs revealed that she had studied her opponents before the games. The athlete tried to get her rivals closer so that she could attack.

She continued that she strongly encouraged young girls to try taekwondo and any combat sports.

The silver medals were won by Chhoeung Aliza in women’s under-57kg, Sam Youdeth in men’s under-58kg, Vann Rithy in men’s over-87kg and Voeun Sitha in women's freestyle individual.

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