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Ratana Sak: basketball and perseverance truly saved his life - Feb 13, 2014

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Ratana Sak
(courtesy of Louka Dube, Basketball Quebec) Ratana Sak (5'11''-G-82), who plays in the Ligue De Basketball lite du Qubec (LBQE) since its beginning as point guard for the Laurentides Revolution, was born in our beautiful province. He also realizes how lucky he is to be born here. This is because of the genocide that lasted for 5 years in Cambodia, where his parents were living. Easily demonstrating 100 years behind the big cities, certainly because of its many civil wars, Cambodia begins to recover just recently. Even if Ratana sends money regularly to his family, he mentioned that once there he realized the magnitude of the situation: "I saw pictures, videos and I've heard a lot about it but when I arrived to the airport in Cambodia, culture shock has occurred and it really hit me. This is far from what we have here in Quebec, the roads are not very nice, people often walk barefoot and poverty is everywhere"
The young man has therefore a duty to return as often as possible to help his family and try to improve their current conditions.
Speaking of passion, it appeared very early, even at the elementary school, where he felt intrigued by the sport that so many people practiced in the school yard. This passion was subsequently confirmed during the summer. He played almost every day in the park with his friends. This the moment, he realized he had a talent for this sport, and despite is small size. So after a few succefull years at the college and university level, he joined the LBQE, within which it operates for 2 years. A real leader both inside and outside the field he says: "I feel I have the respect of all my teammates."
Being complete as a player, still allows him today to be at the top of is shape as well as having been the best player of his country in the Southern Asian Olympic Games.
When Ratana was selected to represent his country, he simply did not believe it happened. Suddenly pride, accomplishment and success were in his mind. After training with strength and determination, fed healthy and have maximized his athleticism, he says, about wearing the sweater: "Ive felt just like Id had never left Cambodia and people accepted me. I always wanted to be part of the national team since I was little. I have told to my mother that one day I would achieve it"
Regarding his future, Ratana has already initiated contacts with the Asian Professional League and now he is waiting for answers from his agent in Cambodia. But, he would be very happy to continue in the LBQE, due to the very high caliber of game that prevails there, which has prepared him to move to a higher level. When his career will be over, he wants to help Cambodia develop basketball via a coaching position. In the same way, he wants to use his image of role model to achieve it: "I felt I had a good influence on those people, they considered my advice and they were receptive."
Welcoming players over 18 years, the LBQE league is not a garage league and it is actually representative of the highest caliber in Quebec. It enjoys significant advantages and it is very attractive for players who graduated from university as well as those who want to pursue their passion in a strong level of competitive play. In fact, the caliber is excellent, the teams take great care of their players and organizations are serious. Ratana states: "I would not be surprised that this year it explodes. Many people will want to come watching us and play in this league."
Due to the media coverage, it gives people a chance to discover the talent of many players in this league. At the mental and professional level, this league allow him to be stronger mentally and to develop more his athleticism as a basketball player. Focusing on the positive effects that brings LBQE, Ratana reiterates his desire to keep his passion alive by playing in this league but also a second chance of exposure at a high-level basketball.
Living in a disadvantaged and recognized very hard environment, as demonstrated by the murder of one of his friends committed in front of him when he was not older than 14 years, basketball has become the only reason why he is here today and he has terminated school. Having lived this reality, he knows that sport can be a great source of motivation. Actually Quebec basketball programs should be more present in school for this reason: "Basketball gives them motivation to succeed and to stay away from areas considered dangerous for them"
Choosing basketball as a sport was an excellent decision in terms of accessibility and reasonable costs. Its growing popularity in Canada and their recruiters paying more and more attention at the Canadian leagues, like the LBQE, are major factors to practice that sport. Firmly believing in a greater recognition of the sport, Ratana conclude with these words: "I would say to young people: never give up and never stop having dreams. I 'm 31 and in my head my career was over a few years ago. Then I realized that I was no longer myself without basketball and I discovered LBQE ..."  

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