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Olympic Near-Hopefuls Set for Beijing

After training every day for two months, Cambodia's Olympiads are set to travel to Beijing to compete in the 2008 Summer Games, even if they hold little hope of bringing home the gold.

An excited, smiling Hem Thun Vitiny, an 18-year-old freestyle swimmer, was jogging early Tuesday to strengthen her muscles.

"I have never attended such kind of big Olympic game," she said later. "I hope that I can improve my performance, [but I] don't hope to win medal."

Later this week, she will join her uncle, butterfly swimmer Hem Thun Ponleu, along with marathoner Hem Bunting, no relation, and track sprinter Sou Thet Linda, in Beijing.

Hem Bunting, who claimed that he was ready to contest with other athletes from around the world, said he had little hope to win the medal because he had not been able to train properly.

"I don't dare to hope much because [the competitors] had a lot of training with enough equipment," he said Tuesday. "For us, we don't even have a proper training place and no equipment to train."

Cambodia was allowed to send the four athletes to join only two events, swimming and track, among 40 possible events.

The two swimmers will compete Aug. 14 and 15, while the two runners will compete Aug. 16 and 24.

"Our training was short, and there was a lot of rain in our country," Olympic coach Chay Kimsan said. "So we just hope to get ourselves some improvement."

Meas Sarin, secretary-general of the Cambodia Olympic National Committee, agreed.

"The result will not come up like what our people want because we are still very low and weak," he said.