Cambodian billiard player Sruong Pheavy has won a gold medal in the three cushions billiards at the 32nd SEA Games 2023 after beating her Vietnamese opponent.
Pheavy, of Tbong Khmom Province, is a professional billiards player who has been competing in South Korea for the past decade. She is the first Cambodian woman to win a gold medal in three cushions at the SEA Games.
Pheavy defeated Hoang Yen Nhi Nguyen of Vietnam 25-20 in the final at Aeon Mall 2 in Phnom Penh.
Pheavy started the game strong, taking an early lead. However, Nguyen fought back and tied the game at 16-16. The two players then traded points until Pheavy pulled away to win 25-20.
In the semi-finals, Pheavy defeated Kien Tuong Phung of Vietnam 25-10. In the first eight qualifiers, she defeated Chezka Luy Centrno of the Philippines 25-6.
The competition hall on AEON 2’s third floor was packed with Cambodian fans, who cheered loudly for Pheavy throughout the match. When she won, the crowd erupted into applause.
"Success always has challenges. No matter how strong we are, we can't get rid of obstacles. But we can be creative in the game. The finals don't make it easy for me, but this difficulty is what defines greatness," Pheavy told reporters after the match.
The spectators in the hall were thrilled with the sight and play of the athletes. They cheered and applauded each of Pheavy’s points.
When Pheavy started playing billiards, encouraged by her Korean husband, she hoped that one day she would win a medal for her country. Thus, their nearly eight-year dream has come true, she added.
“Success is not free. It takes hard work and dedication to achieve it, even though we know it is not as easy as we think.”
Pheavy added, “My happiness does not exceed the happiness of the Cambodian people when it comes to supporting the sports sector, and I do not think that billiards has the overwhelming love and support of the Cambodian people.”
“I want women to love their homeland, and those around them more than themselves. When we have many others to care for, the path we choose may seem much for us. But if we still love ourselves and think only of ourselves, we will not be able to think broadly. I love the people around me, and they are my hope and strength. So when I am tired, I always miss my homeland.”
Pheavy said that she always had the energy to compete at the World Championships because she felt supported by the nation of Cambodia. She believes that sports can help change women and make the country more famous and prosperous.
“I believe that women participating in any sport training can help change our women and exceed expectations, it is very influential, and sports can make the country famous and prosperous."
She says that the money raised will go to her Pheavy organization, which cultivates Cambodia's resources for the future.