Lao female fighter eyes golden rerun for 25th SEA Games

Posted by samakomlao Wednesday, July 15, 2009

“Nobody knows what the future may hold, but we can try our best to be ready for tomorrow.”

Our country's superstar female muay lao fighter (kick-boxing) Bounchanh Sengpaseuth doesn't know what the ring may have in store for her at this year's SEA Games.

“Despite the fact that I'm now the country's number one female muay lao fighter and a SEA Games gold medallist I cannot predict the outcome of my next fights. I'm just planning to do my best” said Bouchanh.

“I want to retain my gold medal and perform to the best of my abilities for Lao spectators at this year's SEA Games. I hope to do so since one cannot say in advance what may happen in any given fight” she said.

Twenty-five year-old Bounchanh was born into a farming family in Sisavath village, in the district of Borikhan in Borikhamxay province.

The youngest child of the family of three brothers and five sisters, she was the only one bent on sports. She is now one year away from graduating from the Physical Education Teacher Training College in Vientiane .

Bounchan explained that in the past she played football, volleyball and kator (better known in the SEA Games as sepak takraw).

“I began to train in muay lao in 2006 and had my first fight that same year. It was a rough start as I lost the bout,” Bouchanh said.

When asked about coping with that loss she smiled.

“No… no I'm not sad looking back on my debut. I gained a lot of experience from that fight.”

Indeed it seems she did, that fight is the only defeat in Bounchanh's otherwise perfect record.

The big surprise for Bounchanh came in 2007 when she was invited to join two national squads: sepak takraw and muay lao for the last SEA Games which took place in Thailand .

However, the rules of the competition didn't allow for a single athlete to compete in two separate events.

Thus, she decided to compete in muay lao. As an unknown, nobody seemed to believe she might take the gold. But she ended up winning and became a national celebrity overnight.

Bounchanh said about her future, “After my career in the ring is over I have plans to become a kick-boxing trainer, I like this sport so much despite the very strong competition between females. Still it's always exciting for me to climb into the ring.”

Although Lao kick-boxers are occasionally seen as second to the professional Thais in muay competitions, the team is confident it could earn several gold medals in this year's SEA Games.

The two gold medals won by Lao fighters in past SEA Games competitions give the muay Lao team a courageous spirit. They are anticipating a large haul of gold medals in front of their home crowd.

This year's SEA Games muay events will include 14 categories, six of which will involve female fighters.

The SEA Games Federation agreed during a meeting in October 2004 to add kick-boxing to the list of official sports for the Philippines 23rd SEA Games in 2005 under the official name of ‘muay'.

By Sisay Vilaysack

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