Thousands of runners from across the world will participate in the VPBank Hanoi Marathon ASEAN 2020 (VPHM) on October 18.
People and children join last year’s Hanoi International Heritage Marathon hosted by VPBank. (Photo courtesy of the organisers)
To comply better social distancing, the race organising committee has decided to trim the size of the event from the expected 8,000 to 10,000 people to 5,500 people, of which 3,000 will join the race directly in Hanoi and about 2,500 will compete at mini race spots throughout the country, in ASEAN and some other countries.
The start line is located in front of Ba Kieu Temple in Hoan Kiem district and VPHM will take runners through six Hanoi districts, with tracks going past heritages and architectural works such as the Old Quarter, Long Bien Bridge, West Lake, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and several historic buildings part of the capital city’s history and development.
Runners competing in the VPHM categories will start every two hours.
The start times will begin at 00:00 on October 18 for the 42km full marathon, at 3am for the 21km half marathon, at 4.30am for the 10km distance and at 8am for the 5km category.
There are also multiple slots for starting at each time to ensure the marathon is safe for all.
“With the slogan ‘Meet sunrise – Welcome to New Normal’, the VPHM has become the official event of the ASEAN 2020 Chairmanship, and it will also be the first large-scale community activity to mark a new period, a ‘new normal’ life after the COVID-19 pandemic in Vietnam as well as in the entire ASEAN bloc,” said a representative of the organisers.
“When most international marathons have been postponed or cancelled, the successful organisation of the VPHM carries a special meaning for Vietnam’s image, showing a safe country, ready to open doors for integration and welcome foreign visitors when the pandemic has been spectacularly controlled.”
Held annually since 2018, the VPBank Hanoi Marathon is recognised as a member of the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS), with the running course standardised by AIMS experts.
Runner’s results at the competition this year can be used for qualification for the prestigious Boston Marathon.
The VPHM 2020 times will also be officially recognised for runner qualification to compete in the SEA Games 2021 to be held in Vietnam./.VNA
Veteran theatre artists nominated for 2020 Mai Vang Awards
For the first time, veteran theatre artists are on a par with young actors at the 2020 Mai Vang (Golden Apricot) Awards, one of the country’s most prestigious art awards presented by Nguoi Lao Dong (The Labourer) newspaper in HCM City.
This year, four veteran artists have been nominated for the awards, signalling a break with tradition. Previously, it was an unwritten rule that only young performers were highlighted at the awards show.
Meritorious Artist Thanh Loc (first from the right) of the IDECAF Drama Troupe has worked on a series of dramatic plays for children. Photo courtesy of the producer
The annual awards, first organised in 1995, have become popular among millions of people and Nguoi Lao Dong readers, including many farmers, workers and students who have voted via mail or internet for their favourite singers, composers, fashion designers, and movie and theatre artists and directors.
While the organisers are still working hard to count the votes, which began last month, audiences are predicting wins for one of four theatre actors, Thanh Dien and Huu Chau of cai luong (reformed opera), and Thanh Loc and Thanh Hoi in drama.
Meritorious Artist Thanh Dien played a leading role in the blockbuster production Dien Vien Hang Ba (Amateur Actor), staged by the HCM City-based private drama troupe Hong Hac last year. His performance left a strong impression on audiences, though the 73-year-old has worked primarily as a theatre producer in recent years.
The long-term project began in 2016 after 15 years of writing, recording and filming by Dien and his young staff. It has received support from the HCM City Television and HCM City Theatre Association, as well as from many young and veteran performers from the city and southern provinces.
Famous extracts from historical plays performed by veteran artists in the 1950s and 1970s are featured through the project. Original traditional tunes of cai luong are highlighted.
“Through Dien’s art and his career, theatre audiences, especially young people, can learn more about cai luong, a 100-year-old traditional art of the South,” said theatre director and critic Thanh Hiệp of the HCM City Theatre’s Association.
“I was interested in the way Dien performs and uses his art to send messages to audiences through the stage. He mixed Vietnamese theatre with modern drama into his show. Dien has a good chance to capture the top award for the year’s Best Theatre Male Actor,” he added.
Other ‘Golden Apricot’ nominee for Best Male Theatre Actor goes to Meritorious Thành Loc of the IDECAF Drama Troupe.
Loc has worked as an actor, director and producer for a series of drama plays for children.
His latest production, Tam Cam (Tam and Cam), made its debut in June and was a new version 20 years after its first release by IDECAF.
The 120-minute musical work’s theme centres on love, honesty, betrayal and justice. It is based on the fairy tale of the same name, considered to be the Vietnamese version of Cinderella.
In the play, Loc, one of the region’s few professional comic actors, once again showed his acting skills.
“I was very happy to see that parents and their kids are captivated by our musical, which is still new for Vietnamese kids. I cried in joy while my audiences screamed and laughed at the show,” said the play’s producer Loc, who also plays a lead role.
Loc, 58, spent several hundred million dong on restaging the play, and urged his staff “not to make mistakes”.
A series of new songs and colourful images are used. Costume designers and specialists in sound and light added a realistic element to the play through beautiful clothes, accessories and interior design.
Loc’s fans expect that Tam Cam will help the actor win at the 2020 Mai Vang Awards.
Actors Chau and Hpi have had successful changes in their career, and have also worked to train young talents.
The 2020 Golden Apricot Awards’ vote count will close in December and the presentation show will take place early next year.
Finishing second would be a failure for Hanoi
Hanoi are unbeaten in nine matches and since the second leg of the season kicked off, the capital side have surged up the rankings to second place, only two points behind Viettel.
Midfielder Đỗ Hùng Dũng (left) hopes to leadHà Nội FC to theV.League 1title. — Photo toquoc.vn
It’s championship or bust for Hà Nội FC in the V.League 1 this season, according to midfielder Đỗ Hùng Dũng.
“Finishing second is a failure for our club. Maybe in other clubs, second is a success, but for us, it is a failure,” said Dũng, who won the Vietnamese Golden Ball award 2019.
“The players always train and compete with the best determination towards the top position in all the matches. Even when playing in the Asian events, we must aim for the title. I think it is a desire that Hà Nội can’t lack,” Dũng added.
Hà Nội are unbeaten in nine matches and since the second leg of the season kicked off, the capital side have surged up the rankings to second place, only two points behind Viettel.
Despite an injury crisis, coach Chu Đình Nghiêm has been able to build a solid defence with young players mixed with wily veterans like Bùi Tấn Trường and Lê Tấn Tài, alongside foreign players like Rimario Gordon and Pape Omar Faye.
“Hà Nội’s biggest rivals are Viettel and Sài Gòn FC. We will play against them in the upcoming games. Viettel are in good shape and starting to find their way of playing. Viettel also have brave and experienced players who have competed in many major tournaments or won the V.League 1 title,” said Dũng.
Today, defending champions Hà Nội will meet Becamex Bình Dương at Hàng Đẫy Stadium. In the previous match, Bình Dương lost by a goal to nil to Viettel also at Hàng Đẫy.
Race between Hà Nội and Viettel
According to pundit Vũ Mạnh Hải, the championship is likely to be a race between Hà Nội and Viettel as Sài Gòn have gradually run out of steam, while the teams Quảng Ninh and Bình Dương will also struggle to take the title.
“I once predicted that the championship race would be a competition among Hà Nội, Viettel, Sài Gòn and HCM City FC. After three matches of the second phase, Viettel showed their outstanding progress to win all three matches. While Hà Nội proved the first phase’s disappointing results were just an accident. They are coming back strong and following the leaders,” said Hải.
“While HCM City are a big disappointment. They are in turmoil, it is unclear for them how to play. The setback of Sài Gòn is expected because their squad can’t be compared with their opponents,” Hải added.
According to Hải, while Viettel may be top of the table and their good form has made for an exciting title race, they shouldn’t count their chickens yet.
“I also think it will be difficult for Viettel are also difficult to win. Viettel are excellent, but Hà Nội are the strongest team. The championship race still has four games left, so the second-point gap is fragile. In the upcoming match, Viettel will take on Hà Nội. This is likely the final of the event,” said Hải.
Hải said that bravery is a particularly important factor at this stage of the season. Most of the players of Hà Nội are V.League 1 champions. Nguyễn Văn Quyết, Dũng, Phạm Thành Lương and many other players are used to playing with heavy pressure, while many Viettel players have never experienced the feeling of having to fight for every point.
“Therefore, I think the championship is still within the reach of Hà Nội,” said Hải. — VNS
Engineer proves miracles exist in epic marathon
Dinh Nam Binh conquered 21 km during a marathon last summer despite doctors informing him of a 2 percent chance of living two years ago.
Among thousands of 21 km participants of VnExpress Marathon (VM) Quy Nhon 2020 in the south central beach town in late July, Binh’s result did not reach the top half, having finished his first race in one hour and 53 minutes. But for the thermal power engineer from Ninh Binh, the achievement felt akin to conquering Everest.
Dinh Nam Binh at the VnExpress Marathon Quy Nhon on July 26, 2020. Photo courtesy of VnExpress Marathon.
It all started in August 2018 with a prolonged business trip to Saudi Arabia during which Binh suffered a small, apparently insignificant scratch to his leg.
Just a few days later, diagnosed with near-fatal staph infection, Binh was flown home via Dubai.
At Noi Bai International Airport, his wife was shocked to him unconscious and with his entire body swollen. Prior to infection, Binh weighed 70 kg. With kidney and liver failure induced by staph bacteria, he gained 10 kg due to the abnormal retention of water in his body.
After five days, doctors at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases and Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi told Binh’s family of his critical condition, confirming his 2 percent chance of survival. With most his vital organs severely affected, especially the kidneys and heart, Binh had to be placed on ventilation and constant dialysis.
“At that moment, my family prepared for the worst,” he recalled.
On the 6th day, Binh suddenly regained consciousness, but suffered progressive, seemingly unstoppable necrosis.
After 21 days of treatment, doctors finally managed to halt the spread of staph bacteria, allowing Binh gradual recovery and subsequent discharge. Despite the good news, the road to rehabilitation proved long.
Dinh Nam Binh on his last day of treatment at Bach Mai Hospital in 2018. Photo courtesy of Dinh Nam Binh.
With his right leg bearing the consequences of infection, doctors confirmed Binh would be wheelchair-bound for life.
“According to medical records, my body had suffered necrosis of 5 percent, mostly on my right thigh, where I only had a small amount of muscle left. I couldn’t stand on both feet,” Binh said, adding at one point he had thought his life to be over.
Among the doctors who diagnosed and treated him, only doctor Ngo Duc Ngoc of Bach Mai Hospital believed in his future recovery.
“I didn’t die after a coma of five days, there’s no reason I can’t return to normal life,” Binh maintained.
Following Dr. Ngoc’s advice, Binh commenced physiotherapy at Hanoi Medical University Hospital for two weeks, which gradually helped his leg improve. For the next two months, he also started walking and swimming while at home.
At the end of 2018, Binh finally switched to running, taking tips from a smartphone app. With his leg increasingly agile, he set a target of two to three kilometers a day.
Over a year later, Binh was running 10 km each weekend, conquered the 15 km around the West Lake in one hour and 23 minutes, then entered his first 21 km at the VnExpress marathon in the south central beach town Quy Nhon.
Dinh Nam Binh on site at a thermal power plant in Pakistan in April 2019. Photo courtesy of Dinh Nam Binh.
“For me there is nothing more precious than being able to walk by myself. During the Quy Nhon marathon, I thought about the past two years, how many efforts, trials and pain I had endured just to run normally like this,” Binh said.
To the doctors who had treated him in the past, his recovery is a true miracle, with even his 3rd degree heart regurgitation cured.
Binh uses his free time at work to go for a run while this colleagues rest. Five days a week he undergoes a recovery session, two speed sessions, and a long run, covering a total distance of about 50 km. His weight is currently around 62 kg, which he considers not bad for a 45-year-old.
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