Tuesday, December 12, 2017

No, It Is Not Impossible! Cambodia's Never Give Up Story: Winter Olympics

I am sitting in a coffee shop writing this post and heard two patrons sitting at a table next to me talking about a friend who couldn't possibly change. The person's future had been "etched in stone".

The conversation bothered me. I guess, I'm the sort who feels it is never too late to change. 

Careers have begun late in life. Retirement funds set aside late in life. PhD graduates have become taxi drivers. Truck drivers become professors. Yeah. I had a problem with the conversation.

Their words brought me to today's winning topic for our discussion.

Google Maps

Today we will jet to Cambodia for an inspiring story.

In a country where the low temperatures are in the 70's and the highs in the 90's, one wouldn't consider this a training ground for a winter sport.

Surprise, Cambodia now has winter sports training.

In the capital city, Phnom Penh, there is now a professionally groomed ice rink. It is the only one in the entire country and opened in 2013. The rink is on the third floor of a mall, above a food court and boutique shops. 

Photo Courtesy
The story goes like this, Khiev Panha's job was to maintain the ice rink. A rink without a purpose other than casual skating. While doing his job, he became interested in the art of skating. Panha devoted hours to learning this sport which most of his countrymen had never heard of before. 

When I read that detail, I immediately thought of the movie Cool Runnings, a story about the first Jamaican bobsled team and their journey to the Olympics. Bobsledding in Jamaica? Yeah. That is the same response you could have for Cambodian ice skaters.

Yet here we have it.

Bravo and kudos to this first ever team of six Cambodian skaters leading their country in training to enter the Olympics. The long term plan is: 2022 Olympics for speed skating and 2026 Olympics for figure skating. I'm so glad they aren't rushing their training. Instead this goal shows a real interest to learn the skill worthy to be true contenders in the Olympics. Way to go!

The six skaters lead by coach Clair Ben Zina train rigorously. But more than preparing themselves for this lofty goal, Sen Bunthoeurn, Khiev Panha, and the other skaters teach classes to young skaters, hoping to raise a generation of skating competitors. 

How inspiring to see these young men and women who started training in their twenties, a very late time to begin training muscles for this rigorous sport, also give up their little free time to teach children not only the rudiments of the sport, but also a deep passion to excel, and a love for skating.

Bunthoeurn and Panha have already qualified to compete in the Southeast Asian games, placing eighth and ninth respectively. True, there were nine competitors in their division, but they legitimately earned the right to compete. Something I could not do. Bravo!

Let's give a cheer and shout out to the young Cambodian skating team and their truly remarkable #NeverGiveUpStory.

For more information about this amazing team here is the BBC's article: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-42007557

#NeverGiveUpStories are the focus of my work, including my debut release: Anders' Redemption, A Christmas Novella Mystery. 

This is such a good story, taken from many real life pieces rolled into one man's plight after suffering a terrible accident. While he had his physical health restored, he suffered on-going memory issues. He lost a stellar job opportunity, surviving on cheap noodles...until a letter came. One that gave him a second hope--until an intruder broke into his new home and stole his signature recipes. Only hope could bring the redemption Brice Anders' desperately craved.

Anders' Redemption is on sale for the holiday season. Both ebook and paperback books are available from your favorite bookseller. Here are a few links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2iRexRU
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2yZZaxh

This post has been brought to you by the one word: ItIsNotImpossible


  1. Mary: This is so true. Nothing is 'etched in stone.' Stone eventually crumbles. Back in college, I received poor grades in writing. But, I have been blogging since 2008, writing since 1999, submitting a column to an online website since 2011, and this past summer have published a devotional book.

    1. I agree. Sometimes time is the best solution. Sometimes it's our increased determination. Whatever, there is always hope.


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