Japanese volunteer judo coach helping local fighters
Lao national judo fighters across all levels are developing and growing in confidence for international competition thanks to the efforts of Japanese volunteer Mr Kan Murayama.
Mr Murayama is training the national team and judging judo tournaments at the Lao-Japan Budo Training Centre from 2015 to 2017.
Lao Judo Federation's President Mr Khemsath Philaphandeth with Mr Kan Murayama at the Lao-Japan Budo Training Centre in June.
This week he prepared the Lao judo team for the Pre-SEA Games in Malaysia from December 4-5.
Following the Pre-SEA Games, his attention will turn to team preparations for the 29th SEA Games in Malaysia in September next year before he returns home to Japan.
Lao Judo Federation official Ms Mayouly Phanouvong said Mr Murayama had brought with him a great knowledge of the martial art and had been able to pass this on to the federation while developing the local team's skills at training.
She said local judo coaches and referees have been able to exchange experiences with Mr Murayama during training and he has successfully prepared the Lao team for numerous international competitions.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is supporting Mr Murayama's efforts to develop judo in Laos and have previously provided several volunteers.
Local judo officials are eyeing participation at the upcoming Tokyo 2020 games as the ultimate goal for the sport in Laos with major events such as the SEA Games forming important preparation.
The Lao judo team recently won two silver and one bronze medal in different categories at the Vietnamese International Judo Championship from October 29-30.
Silver medallist in the women's under 63kg fighting event was Somsoudalath Venevankham with one silver medal in the men's doubles kata event.
The bronze medal was won by Khonema Chanthakoumman in the women's under 78kg division.
In 2014, the Lao team won two silver medals at the Judo North Bangkok Championships.
At the 27th SEA Games in My anmar in 2013, the Lao judo team won a gold and three bronze medals, while at the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia they won a gold, two silver and one bronze medal. At the 25th SEA Games in Vientiane back in 2009, the Lao team won two gold, five silver and four bronze medals.
At the 2007 SEA Games in Thailand, the Lao team won two gold, one silver and three bronze medals.
By Sangkhomsay Bubphanouvong
(Latest Update December 3, 2016)