That was the message from the first session of the vovinam competition at the 5th Asian Beach Games in Bien Dong Park on Friday morning. Facing three male team-mates armed with a symbolic machete, knife and pipe, the 1.57m, 45kg Cambodian conquered them all with a dazzling display of flying head locks, twists and spins.
For her power-packed performance in the women’s weapon self-defence category, Raksmy received a score of 273 points from the five judges – 91, 90 and 92, as the lowest and highest marks were discounted. With Myanmar and Vietnam – the home of vovinam – still to come, the Cambodian was far from home and dry, despite sitting in pole position.
Myanmar scored 268, five points behind Cambodia, and Vietnam, performing last of the four teams, managed only 263, leaving Raksmy with the gold medal. “I am so excited to win this competition,” she said. “I did not think I could do it but I tried my best. I thought that Vietnam owns this martial art, but my team performed well with me.”
Raksmy and her three male team-mates have been training for ABG5 for two months and preparing this routine, which demonstrates ways to defend yourself from weapon-carrying attackers. “Martial arts is important for everyday life so we can learn how to protect ourselves,” she added. “It is also good because it makes the body flexible and gives you confidence if there is a serious situation.”
Raksmy, 30, took up vovinam in 2011 after playing taekwondo earlier in her sporting career. She was quickly winning medals at the South-East Asian (SEA) Games and world championships, but this is her first gold medal at an OCA event, in which 10 countries and regions are taking part here in Danang. Her three team-mates for this woman’s self-defence event were Ly Boramy, Prak Sovanny and San Socheat. Myanmar won the silver medal and Vietnam and Laos each won a bronze medal.