Unprecedented 8 Medals for Soft Tennis

Cambodian soft tennis players finished the SEA Games with eight medals, an unprecedented achievement for the country’s players. Photo: Phat Dane

PHNOM PENH -- Cambodian soft tennis players finished the SEA Games with eight medals, an unprecedented achievement for the country’s players.

Six countries took part in the game. Cambodia won the most medals, two gold, two silver and four bronze.

The Philippines bagged three gold, one silver and one bronze while Indonesia claimed two gold, two silver and one bronze. Thailand got two silver and three bronze.

Meanwhile, Laos won three bronze medals but Timor-Leste won none.

Soft Tennis was not a part of the 31st SEA Games in Vietnam. But in the 30th Games in the Philippines, Cambodia won two bronze medals.

Cambodian Soft Tennis Federation president Sar Seth said that the Cambodian national team was very successful in the 32nd Games and won more medals than any other country in the event.

“It’s a source of pride for our country and the federation as we prepared this game,” he said.

Cambodia had aimed to win many gold medals and the results were not disappointing.

Sethik said that in the past, the level of the Cambodian soft tennis team was lower than other countries in Southeast Asia. The improvement was shown in the 2023 Games.

Head coach Yi Sarin said Cambodia was one of the four tigers in Southeast Asia in this sport. Cambodian soft tennis athletes’ level was almost the same as countries in the region after the end of the SEA Games, he claimed.

“Next, we must devise a plan for the training and the selection of the most qualified athletes,” he said.

He urged young people to join the federation and receive training for free, hoping that the sport will become popular in Cambodia.

Minor organization drawbacks

Chinkhiam Kong, general secretary of Southeast Asian Soft Tennis, said there were some mistakes with the game organization at the Olympic Stadium as officials started the work quite late.

However, they were kept under control and the officials tried their best to offer the best services, he said.

“Of course, human beings are bound to make mistakes, but that has been taken care of,” said Chinkhiam.

However, he was amazed by the improvement of the soft tennis players have made, pointing to one player who did well but lost in the semifinal.

“There’s always room for her to improve,” he said. “They have to be very disciplined. Training is one thing, but discipline is important for players.”

Coach Divina Gracia Escala of the Philippines said the performance of the Cambodian players had improved a lot as they could beat Indonesia, Thailand and her team.

“They can be champions this time,” she said. “But since all games are equal, one should win. But if you see their score, it’s almost the same.”

Most of the regulations for soft tennis are the same as those for normal tennis, however this variation uses soft rubber balls rather than the hard yellow balls used in traditional tennis. It is predominantly played in Asia, with Japan being recognized as the strongest country.

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