Cambodia met Thailand on Tuesday again for the finals of the Men’s Doubles Petanque of the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) at Olympic Complex, Petanque Arena, earning a silver medal.
In the morning, Cambodia’s team, Pheap Vakhim and Puthyon Chandara, competed against their Malaysia opponents, Mohd Fadzrul Ismansyah Mohd Faizal and Muhammad Adam Haiqal Mohd Zaki, in the Group A semi-final round.
Cambodia beat Malaysia with the final result, 13-8.
While Thailand’s Aekkarin Kaewla and Rachata Khamdee won over Vietnam's Ron Ngo and Sa Phanl Danh, in the Group B semi-final round with the result, 13-05.
In the afternoon, the Cambodian team met their Thai opponents again in the final round after Thailand won over Vietnam.
Cambodia met the same Thailand opponent on Monday when the host nation scored one additional point at the last minute, leveling up to 10, which made Cambodia triumph over Thailand, 10-7.
In the final round, Thailand's team won over Cambodia, 13-4.
The final results saw Thailand win a gold medal, Cambodia silver, and Vietnam and Malaysia earned a bronze in the Men’s Doubles Petanque.
Vakhim, the representative of Cambodia Men’s Doubles Petanque, said he was still satisfied even though he and his team got a silver medal as it is the first time that his team has joined the SEA Games competition.
“I have been training to play Petanque for five years now and it is the very first time that we competed in the SEA Games. Even though the result didn’t achieve what we expected, we step into the rank that we want now. It means we will go back and learn from our mistakes and keep developing ourselves; we will win back,” he told Kiripost after the award ceremony.
He added that winning silver for the first time for Men’s Doubles Petanque is considered a huge victory as the Thai opponents won at the previous SEA Games 31 in Vietnam in 2022.
“I would like to thank all citizens and athletes that always come to watch our play physically and always motivate us. I hope Petanque will have more of a reputation than that,” Vakhim said.
Chandara, another Cambodian athlete in Men’s Doubles Petanque, said his health was not up to scratch, including being emotionally overloaded during the final round.
“Actually, I’m not panicking. As I can say Petanque is not consistent like today we did well but tomorrow we are not. Sometimes, it is also due to our health issues. I am also excited when I see a lot of people clapping hands for us and it makes me thrilled,” he told Kiripost.
Ouk Rayi, the coach of youth Petanque for more than 20 years and also the coach of Vakhim and Chandara, said he has trained them for three years.
According to their coach, they won a bronze medal in the World Championships Petanque in Denmark in 2022 among 46 countries.
The 64-year-old said he is also disappointed that his students who did do well in the final round.
“I’m also feeling regret because I see their ability to get the gold medal for our country. However, their ability to play declined in the final round. For another chance, I will try to train them more in order to obtain a gold medal for our nation as much as possible,” he said.
He hopes the next generation of athletes will try their best to obtain the knowledge and skills playing the sports expertise in order not to face panic attacks while competing.