Rain-soaked Cambodian runner captures hearts around the world

© Khmer Times
© Khmer Times

Phnom Penh, Cambodia, May 11, 2023: A Cambodian athlete has won the hearts of sports fans around the world after her tearful end to a rain-soaked SEA Games race in which she finished last.

Competing in the women’s 5000 metres at the Morodok Techo National Stadium, Bou Samnang finished almost six minutes behind the winner and burst into tears as she hugged a Cambodian flag as torrential rain continued to pelt down.

Her efforts have not gone unnoticed at home and abroad, though, and a proud Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and First Lady Bun Rany Hun Sen announced a gift of USD10,000 to Bou Samnang.

Through a telegram, the premier said: “Even though I am attending the ASEAN Summit in Indonesia, I can still follow the 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia. To encourage her for her determination, my wife and I would like to contribute $10,000,” the Prime Minister was quoted as saying by the Khmer Times.

Earlier, His Majesty the King of the Kingdom of Cambodia praised the young athlete, saying “Sport is more than winning and losing.”

Bou’s resolve made her the toast of the 32nd SEA Games host nation, and footage of her wet, lonely run to the line was shown around the world.

Athletics Weekly posted a video and commented: “This is Cambodia's Bou Samnang, who finished six minutes behind the winner of the 5000m at the recent South East Asian Games. It absolutely chucked it down with rain as she went round the final 200m. But she never gave up, even in last place.”

This Athletics Weekly post garnered 13,000 likes and 300 comments, including: “Great job. Way to represent your country with pride,” “Well done, Bou. Keep up the good work,” “What a great attitude,” “That’s the real spirit of an athlete. Congrats and salute” and “Life lessons from sports at its best. Kudos to the runner.”