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Ha Noi FC and Viettel square off in Super Cup



Midfielder Nguyễn Quang Hải of Hà Nội FC celebrates his goal during Hà Nội’s 4-2 win over Sài Gòn FC in the V.League 1 last season. Hà Nội will play Viettel in the Super Cup on January 9 at Hàng Đẫy Stadium. Photo courtesy of VPF


HÀ NỘI After an up and down 2020 season, midfielder Nguyễn Quang Hải of Hà Nội FC will be hoping to hit the ground running this year in the National Super Cup tomorrow against Viettel.

Hà Nội, the National Cup holders, will aim to defend the Super Cup trophy while Viettel, the V.League 1 champions, are aiming to take the crown for the second time and the first in their current incarnation.

Hải has struggled and only notched four league goals last season, though he did pop up with goals in big moments.

Hải netted for the capital city team when they were drawing 1-1 with Sài Gòn FC during the crunch November 8 V.League 1 match, sparking Hà Nội’s 4-2 win. The goal was then voted the best of the season.

In the National Cup final, he also shone by scoring the winner in a 2-1 victory over Viettel.

“I will do my best if I have a chance to play in the (Super Cup) match. Hope that my contribution will help my team succeed,” said Hải at a press briefing in Hà Nội.

While Ha Noi have Hai firing fit, they will have to do without defenders Đoàn Văn Hậu, Đỗ Duy Mạnh and Trần Đình Trọng due to injuries.

“Hà Nội will definitely not have Hậu in the match because he will have treatment this week. Mạnh and Trọng have not found their feeling with playing yet after a long time out,” said coach Chu Đình Nghiêm of Hà Nội.

“It is unclear that they can play or not. And if they want to play they will also have to vie against other players such as Bùi Hoàng Việt Anh and Nguyễn Thành Chung,” said Nghiêm, who may also have to do without new foreign forwards Bruno Cantanhede and Geovane Magno.

On the other side, Viettel also face personnel problems.

Their captain Bùi Tiến Dũng will not play as he has wedding parties on January 8 and 10, while defender Quế Ngọc Hải is 50-50 to play after suffering a groin injury last month when he played for the national team in a friendly versus the U22 squad.

Viettel lost Cantanhede to Hà Nội this season, which will be a big glow for the military team. The Brazilian scored 23 goals in two seasons and was a key part in their 2020 V.League 1 triumph.

But Pedro Paulo, another Brazilian, has come to fill his place. Paulo was the joint-top league goal-scorer last season with 12 goals for Sài Gòn FC.

Speaking at the briefing, Viettel coach assistant Nguyễn Hải Biên said: “All Viettel players have an opportunity to play in this match.”

Biên, who won the national first Super Cup trophy as a player of Thể Công (the former name of Viettel) in 1999, added that: “It is really moved to participate as a member of the coaching staff this time. It has been 22 years since my and the team’s first time. I hope that both sides play fairly and there is a win for Viettel.”

The winning team will secure VNĐ300 million while the losers will walk away with VNĐ200 million. Other prizes will be delivered to the first scorer and man of the match.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only 5,000 supporters will be allowed in Hàng Đẫy Stadium. The match which will be aired live on VTV6 from 4.45pm.



Hang Trong folk print- a touch of the legacy in the modern life



Hang Trong folk prints are the traditional trait of an ancient capital. The seemingly forgotten technique has been awakened recently.

Just plain folk

Hand-painted or wood-engraved paintings are on display at a wet market stall next to meat and vegetables are barely seen anywhere in the world. In Vietnam, though, it’s a common sight.

People put these pictures on the family altar as well as hang them on the walls. At certain times of the year- particularly Tet, the Lunar New Year – they are considered an indispensable element of the occasion.

Hang Trong folk print- a touch of the legacy in the modern life
The painting called Mau thuong ngan – Mother Goddess of the Forest. Documentary photo

Hang Trong folk print – a combination of traditional cultural values with ancient artistic methods contributed to the development of folk painting craft, making it flourish once upon a time. 

Ever since the 1970s, Hang Trong prints have been on sale all over Hanoi three weeks before Tet. The paintings were once very popular among Vietnamese and had been displayed for sale on the ancient streets of Hang Trong, Hang Non or Hang Quat in Hanoi’s Old Quarter area.

The paintings had set their place deeply in the soul of Hanoian and remained its feature unchangeable in spite of the upheavals of the times.

Hang Trong folk painting uses wood carving technique to print colorful inks on ‘do’ paper. In making a painting, the craftsman starts with woodblocks to print black outlines, then draws the details and finally colours the picture in by hand.

Woodblock making is the most important part of the painting producing process, which must be made by skillful craftsmen. The person who created the first-ever painting on woodblock is usually the best one among craftsmen. His dedicated skillful drawing will decide the beauty of a Hang Trong painting later. It might take months for a craftsman to finish a sophisticated printing sample.  

The imprints of the ritual and daily life

Hang Trong folk print- a touch of the legacy in the modern life
The Ngu ho – Five Tigers. Documentary photo

Hang Trong paintings have vivid colours that reflect the beauty and rich culture of the community where they are originated. The folk paintings portrayed themes that associated with Vietnamese daily life such as: Tet paintings, worshiping paintings and paintings that depict people daily activities.

The subjects of paintings are also in variety including Tu quy – four specious kinds of trees and flowers of pine, bamboo, chrysanthemum and apricot; Ngu ho – Five Tigers; Ly ngu vong nguyet – Carp Looking at the Moon; To nu – Four female musicians; Chim cong -peacock, Tam Da – three gods symbolising longevity, prosperity and happiness; Cho que – rural market, Mau thuong ngan – Mother Goddess of the Forest; among others.

One of Hang Trong’s best loved images is the Carp Looking at the Moon. The carp symbolized the strong will. According to legend, it refused to accept the fate of ordinary fish and won a contest to cross the Rain Gate, thus becoming a dragon, king of all aquatic creatures.

Hang Trong folk print- a touch of the legacy in the modern life
The Ly ngu vong nguyet – Carp Looking at the Moon and Chim cong – peacock.

Another revered image of folk painting is that of the tiger, a sacred image and a symbol of strength. There used to be many tigers in Vietnam, they were believed to be capable of defeating demons. A tiger image of the front door protects a house from evil forces.

The painting of “Little Seven” is originated from the old opinion as “the more children, the greater the parents’ happiness”. For rice growers who need manpower for planting and the harvest, children were literally a source of wealth.   

Strives for the folk prints’ preservation

However, the craft is fading now as there remains only the family of artisan Le Dinh Nghien who still practices it. There are no longer any household in this increasingly fashionable and touristy street devoted to the craft. “There is not much demand these days,” said the artisan, “But that means I have time to improve the quality of my picture, as well as to teach the skill to younger artisans.”

In order to resurrect this genre of traditional art, some painting projects and classes are also opened by Hang Trong ward authorities to help transmitting knowledge of making pictures from old craftsmen to young artists.

Hang Trong folk print- a touch of the legacy in the modern life
Visitors admire Hang Trong paintings at Nam Huong communal house. Photo: Lai Tan

One among preservation efforts of Hang Trong folk prints was the project entitled “From tradition to tradition”, launching by Hang Trong ward authorities and Vietnam University of Fine Arts in late 2020.

The project ‘From tradition to tradition’ means creating Hang Trong folk painting on Vietnamese traditional materials, namely try painting the ancient patterns on silk and lacquer, which is the intermingling of the two traditional values, instead of sticking to zo paper.

“One interesting thing about this folk art is that Hang Trong painting was born, developed and flourished right on this street. After a half of century, it almost disappears right on the same street,” said artist Nguyen The Son, teacher from Vietnam University of Fine Arts.

Hang Trong folk print- a touch of the legacy in the modern life
New experiment: Hang Trong folk painting on lacquer and silk. Photo: Thoi Nguyen

According to the artist, through the painting project, the artists wished to reconnect the ruptured history flow. Young painters, beside paying attention on their individual creativity, need to recognize and connect with the past heritage, and having the sense of national indigenous culture and tradition.

When approaching Hang Trong folk paintings, young artists and art students not only respect the cultural, artistic and historical values, but insert some creative features into the paintings.

They also draw them in the new material of silk or lacquer. Thanks to that, the folk prints began to have a new vitality, getting out of the classical motifs, not just the paintings themed a flower vase or decorative plates on zo paper for adorning the walls.

Hang Trong painting is a familiar folk painting line of Vietnamese people. However, with the skillful drawing techniques and vivid stories shown in the paintings, it is believed that the contemporary Hang Trong folk prints will bring a new vivid appearance that would enrich nonmaterial life of Hanoians as well as Vietnamese people. 



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Vietnamese athletics eye reign defence at SEA Games 31



In the last two editions of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, Vietnam surpassed Thailand to top the overall track and field medal tally. As the host of the 31st SEA Games this year, it is highly feasible for Vietnam to take the supreme honour

 in the sport for the third successive time.

Vietnamese athletics eye reign defence at SEA Games 31
Nguyen Thi Oanh scores four gold medals at the 2020 National Athletics Championships. Photo: Zing

Vietnamese athletics’ top-spot ambition for the upcoming regional Games is posed with significant challenges as, throughout 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hindered Vietnamese athletes from participating in any overseas training courses as well as international competitions. Entering 2021, amidst the complicated evolution of the disease, international track and field tournaments have remained halted without confirmed dates for return, while it remains unknown when the sending of athletes for overseas training will resume. On mass media, Vietnam’s athletics arch-rivals Thailand have also constantly affirmed their determination to reclaim the lost position. Given that fact, the host country of the 31st SEA Games will have to exert much greater efforts if they wish to defend their regional reign.

Last year, as a result of the two COVID-19 outbreaks, Vietnamese athletics only managed to organise two official domestic tournaments, the Speed Cup (Ho Chi Minh City, June) and the National Championships (Hanoi, November). The inability to train and compete overseas significantly affected the performance of athletes. In previous years, most of the national teams chose to train abroad to improve their profession and performance. In fact, practising in the countries with advanced sport levels brings athletes greater excitement and helps them further improve themselves in terms of both psychology and fitness compared to training at home. By engaging in overseas training camps and competitions, Vietnamese athletes will be able to break their limits to reach new heights. Meanwhile, at the present time, due to the pandemic, athletes in most of the events in which Vietnam is capable of securing a Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 berth have yet to achieve the performance indicators as expected. For example, Vietnam currently ranks 17th in the world regarding the 4x400m relay event and stands a chance to make the top 16 teams qualifying for the 2020 Olympics if international performance is improved in 2021. Even so, athletics is not a key sport of Vietnam in the Olympic arena and the real focus of the track and field department in 2021 is on the 31st SEA Games.

Looking towards the regional Games later this year, Vietnam athletics is completely confident in realising the goal of defending its reign thanks to a team of prominent athletes, such as Le Tu Chinh, who smashed her way to five gold medals at the 2020 National Championships – with two individual titles in the 100m and 200m dash and three team gold medals in the women’s 4x100m, women’s 4x200m and mixed 4x400m disciplines, recording an especially notable time of 11.43 seconds in the 100m distance. Tu Chinh took gold in this event at the 30th SEA Games with 11.54 seconds, 0.14 seconds far from her personal best (11.40 seconds). Another SEA Games 2019 champion, Nguyen Thi Oanh, also scored four gold medals at the National Championships last year and established a new national record in the women’s 10,000m run with a time of 34:08.54, breaking the 17-year-old record set by Doan Nu Truc Van in 2003 (34:48.28). In the men’s medium-distance categories, Duong Van Thai, who won eight SEA Games gold medals, was surprisingly surpassed by 20-year-old Tran Van Dang. Dang’s performance will surely create a big motivation for Duong Van Thai to exert greater efforts at the upcoming 31st SEA Games.

According to experts, in order to top the 31st SEA Games track and field medal tally, Vietnamese athletes will need to secure 17-19 gold medals in a total of 47 events. In the previous Games, the Vietnamese athletics team won 16 golds, four clear of Thailand and five more than that of the Philippines. Thanks to its effective control of COVID-19, Vietnamese athletics is making better preparations for this year’s Games compared to many other countries in the region which are being raged by the pandemic. From the beginning of 2021, coaches and athletes will enjoy a diet costing VND320,000 each per day during their training time at the national team level, which will increase to VND480,000 for a maximum of 90 days prior to official competition. With thorough preparations in the past year as well as in the coming time, athletics and football are the two departments which have been assigned with the biggest tasks and are the most likely to finalise the goal of winning the overall championship title at the 31st SEA Games later this year.  NDO


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Vietnamese cueist off to rosy start at PBA World Championship 2020-2021



Ma Minh Cam secured his first win at PBA World Championship 2020-2021, a tournament with the biggest prize money ever offered in the history of pool.

The 46-year-old cueist, ranked 9th by Professional Billiards Association (PBA), had a close game against South Korean Kim Ki-Hyok (24th) after the first day of the tournament with a score of 3-2 (15/13, 11/15, 13/15, 15/8 and 11/3).

Cuiest Ma Minh Cam beats Kim Ki-Hyok 3-2 on Feb.25, the first day of PBA World Championship 2020-2021 in South Korea.

Cuiest Ma Minh Cam beat Kim Ki-Hyok 3-2 on Feb. 25, the first day of PBA World Championship 2020-2021 in South Korea. Photo courtesy of Billiard Vietnam.

His next rival in group H is Tae Jun Oh (25th), who beat Sam Il Seo (8th) with a score of 3-0.

Cam is the only Vietnamese player competing in the championship in South Korea from Feb. 25 to March 6.

He has been in the country since last July to participate in multiple PBA events.

Meanwhile, Ngo Dinh Nai and Nguyen Huynh Phuong Linh, the other two Vietnamese players who joined the PBA 3-cushion carom tourney not so long ago, did not qualify for the tournament since organizers could not determine their rankings since they had taken part in less than five events.

According to the league format, 32 local and foreign cueists are divided into eight groups of four players each. Players go head to head following the round-robin format. The top two players of each group would advance to round-16.

After the elimination round, the final two players will compete in seven bouts, with the first place awarded to whoever wins four matches.

Since the tournament boasts the biggest prize money ever offered in the history of pool, the winner will walk home with 300 million won (over $267,000) out of the prize pool of 400 million won.


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