The Lao Wrestling Federation is gearing up to host a major wrestling competition among South East Asian nations in Vientiane in December.

The federation wants the contest to be an opportunity to test the chances of the Lao wrestling team to achieve gold in the 25 th SEA Games in 2009.

The federation does not yet have a stadium for the competition due to a lack of funding, and there no plans for the construction of a stadium this year.

“We hope to hold the contest at the training centre of the Lao Taekwondo Federation, if we ask for assistance from them,” said the Vice President of the Lao Wrestling Federation, Mr Bouathong Southammavong.

The Booyoung Company from the Republic of Korea is already building a taekwondo training centre in Vientiane ; the company began work on the project in November last year, and the building is set to be completed by April. The Asia Association's Wrestling Committee President, Mr Chang Kew Kim, will present equipment to the federation in March. During this visit, Mr Chang will also survey the taekwondo centre for suitability.

“We believe that more people will be interested in wrestling after the competition in December, and we also want to promote the sport to increase our chances of selecting a good team for the 25 th SEA Games,” said Mr Bouathong.

Mr Chang will recruit a skilled trainer to help improve the Lao wrestling team ahead of the games.

The Lao committee and the head trainer, Mr Manolom Phinith, discussed with Mr Chang after the team's success in the 24 th games in Thailand last year the possibility of receiving help from the association.

The wrestling events in December will consist of men's and women's wrestling events in eight categories.

Four men and two women wrestlers competed in the 24 th SEA Games, when Khonekeo Thatthavong in the 74kg category and Vilakone Vongphachane in the 60 kg category both won bronze medals.

By Sangkhomsay Bubphanouvong

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