Lao athletes are in a celebratory mood, after winning a gold medal and three bronze medals in the martial art sport of Kun Bokator at the 2023 Southeast Asian Games that is currently being hosted in Cambodia.
Kongngeun Inthisane was the first Lao athlete to win a gold medal in the tournament after defeating his Cambodian opponent in Kun Bokator. Somvang Thaniseng, Kitsisin Inthavong, and Anousone Vannalath also won bronze medals in the same martial art sport.
Ms. Khanthaly Siriphongphan, Deputy Minister of Education and Sports, awarded Kongngeun the top prize of LAK 10 million, while the three bronze medal winners each received LAK 4 million for their outstanding performances.
The Lao athletic delegation will compete in 32 out of 46 sports at the SEA Games in Cambodia, happening from 5-17 May.
Kun Bokator, a complex and dynamic martial art, includes hand-to-hand combat and the use of weapons such as spears and swords. The sport requires competitors to perform a choreographed sequence of moves, incorporating both solo and group performances.
The Cambodian martial art is also believed to be over a thousand years old and has made its debut at the SEA Games this year. Almost disappearing during the Khmer Rouge regime, the martial art has regained popularity among Cambodians who seek to protect their culture and was recently inscribed on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.