7 CCF students competed in an international ultimate frisbee tournament in Malaysia representing Cambodia with the Bee Force women’s team

Travelling abroad for the first time is always an adventure. But for seven Cambodian Children’s Fund students the experience was extra special as the trip saw them representing their country at a sporting event in Malaysia.

At the beginning of April, the super seven flew to Kuala Lumpur to compete in a women’s only ultimate frisbee tournament. They earned their places on the team thanks to their talents with a flying disc honed over weeks of practice.

Youk Sok Si Ne, 17, Chuong Meychou, 17, Van Sovann Sreynou, 19, Chek Srey Nhanh, 19, Chea Channa, 18, Mab Si Neth, 18, and Nang Srey Nich, 17, were part of Bee Force, Cambodia’s first women’s ultimate frisbee club.

For many CCF students, living in in one of the most deprived parts of Cambodia, travelling overseas is a distant dream. So when they do get the chance, they embrace every opportunity to experience life beyond of the communities of Steung Meanchey.

Playing in the Grizzly Open Club Championships in Malaysia gave the seven frisbee players a chance to learn skills that can’t be taught in a classroom.

“Team building, leadership, teamwork, how to run faster and how to have power before a tournament,” listed 19-year-old Check Nhanh when asked what she had gained from playing in the tournament.

Formed by Romina de Jong and Sreyda Chan in 2016, Bee Force is an inclusive and empowering club for women in Cambodia. Being part of the team has had a big impact on the CCF girls, including a noticeable growing confidence.

“We’ve seen amazing things happening, girls taking leadership, speaking out in a group of strangers, discussing issues on the field with opponents, practicing English, finding solutions, good communication with the other teams, they try hard,” said Sreymarch, CCF Education Officer and tournament chaperone.

Although the team did not succeed in winning the tournament, the players left with more knowledge and experience than they had entered with. In a fierce competition, the students played against more experienced teams with older, bigger players.

“I met many teams and competed against teams who are stronger. It made me build my self to be as strong as them,” said Chea Channa, 18.

The challenges they faced during the tournament have not deterred the students, but instead provided them with inspiration and greater motivation to keep playing.

“[Frisbee] is a fun and very amazing sport. It was the best experience in our lives, we know new friends, have good health and more confidence,” explained 17-year-old Chuong Meychou.

Ultimate frisbee has provided a platform for these young women to shine and grow together and CCF is excited to see where it takes them next.

“Coaches Alice, Romina and Jared have been superb coaches, the three of them always motivate and give leadership lessons to our students. We were lucky to have them with us,” said Sreymarch.

Alice Brown/CCF

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