It is not always Cambodian sports teams that are training outside the country. There are also instances of foreign teams coming to the Kingdom to hone their talents in preparation for major international competitions.

Such is the case for the Philippine kickboxing team bound for the Southeast Asian Games.

The Philippine kickboxing team was in Cambodia for nearly a week this month to train for the biennial regional sports competitions, according to a report in GMA News Online.

Before the Philippine kickboxing team flew to Cambodia on November 2, Senator Francis Tolentino, president of the Samahang Kickboxing ng Pillipinas (SKP), was quoted as saying in the GMA News Online report that he expects that training in Cambodia will further strengthen the team and individual players.

Cambodia is among the kickboxing powerhouses in Southeast Asia. A kickboxing variant called Khun Khmer (Khmer Kickboxing), which is outwardly similar to Thailand’s Muay Thai, is among the most popular sports in this country of 16 million people.

“Our Filipino kickboxers have been training diligently in the past months. I am convinced that they have a very good chance in the coming SEA Games,” he said.

Before being chosen for the Philippine team, the eight Filipino kickboxers went through many regional and national tournaments and a rigorous selection process. Teams from Cambodia and Thailand are expected to be the toughest opponents for Filipino kickboxers in the SEA Games.

“Training in Seam Reap will surely increase our athletes’ endurance and combat skills, and enable them to develop sharper techniques through sparring with more experienced kickboxers,” Mr Tolentino added.

The Philippine team trained at the MRLY Gym in Siem Reap on Nov 3-9. The Filipino kickboxers were accompanied by kickboxing coaches Glenn Mondol and Donald Geisler III.

While in Siem Reap, the Philippine kickboxers trained extensively under the guidance of Cambodian trainers. Video images from the MRLY Gym show the team having workouts and sparring sessions with their local counterparts.

Kickboxing is among several sporting disciplines that will be included in the SEA Games for the first time. The other SEA Games newcomers are the Japanese martial art Jujitsu, Soviet martial art and combat sport Sambo, and Arnis, a traditional Philippine martial art.

There will be eight kickboxing events in the upcoming SEA Games, all of which will be played at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay on Dec 7-10.

The 2019 SEA Games will be held from Nov 30 to Dec 11 in Manila, Philippines.


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