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Taekwondo fighter Tuyền’s Olympic dream comes true




Trương Thị Kim Tuyền of Việt Nam (right) kicks out at Fariza Aldangorova of Kazakhstan during the semi-finals of the women’s U49kg category at the Asian Qualification Tournament for Tokyo Games in Amman, Jordan, on May 21. — Photo courtesy of World Taekwondo

HÀ NỘI — When she won the Asian championship title in 2018, Trương Thị Kim Tuyền dreamed an Olympic dream.

Three years later, the fighter made it and has qualified for the Tokyo Games this summer, bringing Vietnamese taekwondo back onto the world’s biggest stage after nearly a decade.

In the Asian qualifiers last month, Tuyền, one of two Vietnamese representatives, defeated three rivals to become one of two finalists in the women’s 49kg category. It was enough for her to clinch an Olympic slot.

“I am really happy with this result. It’s deserving after my labour for many years. It is a big thanks to my coaches and friends who strongly support me,” said the 24-year-old.

Rural girl who fights

Born in 1997 in the southern province of Vĩnh Long’s Long Hồ District, Tuyền has been practising taekwondo for 10 years.

Tuyền is the youngest in a four-member family that earns a living through rambutan and rice farming.

While all of her siblings, who are much older than her, have to work to help their parents, Tuyền was asked to focus on her studies. 

One day when his youngest daughter said she wanted to try martial arts, her father Trương Văn Hạt agreed to the strange and expensive request.

Tuyền was encouraged to try taekwondo as her father believed that the protective gear would prevent his daughter from suffering injuries.

Her passion and talent made Tuyền, who has speed, strength, accuracy and a tactical mind, an outstanding trainee at her club.

After many years scouting for the provincial sports department, coach Lê Trần Thùy Trân understood that she had found a “treasure”.

“Her parents did not agree when I talked about bringing Tuyền to the province’s training centre to be a professional athlete. I told them Tuyền was a talent and she had potential to be a big athlete in the future,” Trân recalled.

“I had to come back again and again, persuading and analysing a lot before receiving their approval. It was great that she proved herself with a gold medal at the Mekong Delta regional championship and another at the national youth tournament in the first year,” she said.

Trương Thị Kim Tuyền (right) competes at the Asian Qualification Tournament for Tokyo Games in Amman, Jordan, on May 21. — Photo courtesy of World Taekwondo

The 14-year-old was immediately elevated to the national team which meant Trân had to go back to Hạt for permission again.

“It was not simple as at the provincial centre where she could return home at the weekend. Being a national team member means she would leave her parents and live an independent life,” said Trân who then sent Tuyền to Đà Nẵng’s National Sports Training Centre 3.

The day Tuyền left was the first time that both she and her parents saw an aeroplane at HCM City’s Tân Sơn Nhất Airport. But since then, flights have been part of her life with competitions around the world.

Golden girl

Trương Thị Kim Tuyền poses with her gold medal of the women’s U49kg category at the Asian Qualification Tournament for Tokyo Games in Amman, Jordan, on May 21. — Photo courtesy of World Taekwondo

Tears fell when Tuyền flew away but a bright future was waiting for her.

The unbeaten girl dominated not only the national tournament but also the Southeast Asian Games as she won the regional competition’s 46kg class in her debut in 2015 at the age of 18.

Months later she took an international title and was voted the best athlete at the Morocco Open which is one of the most prestigious events in taekwondo.

She also pocketed titles from the Asian youth championship and a bronze from the Asian championship in 2016.

Her success left Tuyền self-satisfied. Five months after her triumph in Morocco, Tuyền was defeated in the semi-finals of the Olympics’ qualification Asian zone, meaning she missed out on a spot at the 2016 Rio Games, as only two fighters from the tournament qualified.

Fortunately, she used the loss to rebound in 2017 and brought home six medals from international competitions, including a silver from the world championship in South Korea.

The silver was a milestone point as the first world level medal in history for Vietnamese taekwondo.

In 2019, Tuyền grabbed titles from the ASEAN Open, Greece Open and Serbia Open. Her performance at the Grand Prix Moscow 2019 did not help put her in the top three but she showed her advanced technique before losing 11-9 to world champion Sim Jae-young who was born in South Korea, the centre of the taekwondo world. 

According to Nguyễn Lê Dung, head of Vĩnh Long Sports and Culture Department’s Taekwondo Section, Tuyền is a star of the province and national sport and has more success ahead of her.

2020 saw most tournaments cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tuyền could not enjoy her usual intensive training courses or international competitions. She feared missing the Olympics again as the Asian qualification event in Jordan in May was the last chance for Việt Nam.

But Tuyền performed spectacularly to be a finalist in her class to take an Olympic slot but also beat Su Po-ya of Chinese Taipei in the final to win gold.

It is her first time at the competition and Việt Nam’s fifth time sending a taekwondo athlete.

Trương Thị Kim Tuyền (left) is one of Việt Nam athletes at the coming Olympics. She will also a key athlete to participate at this winner SEA Games in Hà Nội. — Photo

The world No 13 Tuyền is now in Lebanon for the Asian championship which will be her final test ahead of Tokyo in July.

Tuyền is hoped to bring Việt Nam another medal after her Trần Hiếu Ngân’s silver at the Sydney Olympics 21 years ago.

“The first SEA Games title strengthened my belief with the martial art. The world silver medal was the most memorable result as it was my first time at the worlds. The Olympic berth is my dream,” said Tuyền.

“As an athlete, everyone hopes to be an Olympian once in their life. Me too. I will work harder for that and even harder for a medal,” said Tuyền. —



Vietnam ascend FIFA futsal world ranking



Vietnam ascend FIFA futsal world ranking

The Vietnam national futsal team that played Iraq in a friendly on May 17, 2021. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Football Federation.

The Vietnam national futsal team has moved up one place in the August update of FIFA futsal world ranking.

After beating Lebanon in the World Cup qualification playoffs in late May and claiming a ticket to Futsal World Cup 2021, Vietnam climbed from 44th to 43rd on the FIFA futsal world ranking. In the August update, only Vietnam and Japan improved their positions in Asia.

The top three positions in the world remained unchanged, with Spain first, followed by Brazil and Argentina. In Asia, Iran continued to lead, followed by Kazakhstan and Japan.

The national team has started training since late July. They are set to fly to Spain on Aug. 25 to participate in a friendly tournament with hosts Spain, Japan and Guatemala. They will play another exhibition match with Morocco on Sept. 6, before entering Futsal World Cup, held in Lithuania between Sept. 12 and Oct. 3.

At Futsal World Cup, Vietnam are grouped with Brazil, the Czech Republic and Panama. The team will play their first game against Brazil on Sept. 13, then Panama on the 16th, and the Czech Republic on the 19th.

This is the second time Vietnam qualified for the event, after the first in 2016.


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Youngsters make videos to honour beauty of Vietnamese women and traditional craft villages



Youngsters have displayed their creativeness in making videos to outline the Vietnamese cultural values and the beauty of Vietnamese women in traditional craft villages across the nation.

Youngsters make videos to honour beauty of Vietnamese women and traditional craft villages
A scene from the top prize winner “My Nghiep Cham Brocade Village (Ninh Thuan)” by Champasix. (Screenshot capture)

They participated in a video making contest themed “Vietnamese women and craft villages”, which was launched by the Empower Women Asia (EWA) project under the NGO Keep It Beautiful Vietnam (KIBV), to honour the women in traditional craft villages together with their efforts to preserve the national cultural values in the modern society.

The contest was held from May to July 2021 through the creation of photos/videos with a duration of 3-5 minutes, carrying the message of promoting and preserving traditional craft villages, while honouring the beauty of the simple, rustic labour of Vietnamese women in general and ethnic minority women in particular in such traditional craft villages.

Taking place mainly on the Facebook channel of the EWA, the contest has attracted many young people at home and abroad, bringing unique and new perspectives on traditional craft villages to the masses nationally and internationally.

After only two months, the organisers received hundreds of entries with diverse and unique content. Through their creative products, young people have reflected the true image of sincere and rustic women in traditional craft villages, evoking their love for their homeland and national pride, while showing their respect and desire to promote the core and long-standing cultural values of the nation.

Among 11 outstanding entries to the final round, a jury of famous journalists, editors, travel bloggers and photographers selected four best works for awards, in which the first prize came to the video “My Nghiep Cham Brocade Village (Ninh Thuan)” by Champasix; the “Crab noodle making village (Hai Phong)” by Nguyen Thanh Loan won the second prize; and two third prizes went to videos “Chang Son Fan Village (Hanoi)” by GEN and “Chuong Hat Village (Hanoi)” by Jelly Potatoes. In addition, the most favoured video award went to “Thach Xa Bamboo Dragonfly Village (Hanoi)” by Le.Morq.

The contest also received the companionship of famous speakers, designers, art activists and influential faces in the public to jointly spread the nation’s traditional cultural features to the community.

It is expected to raise the community’s understanding and respect for traditional craft villages, thereby spreading the message of preserving the quintessence and traditions of the nation, as well as respecting and promoting the nation’s cultural values through the skilful hands of village women in simple, rustic daily labour.

Let’s admire the beauty of the labour of women in traditional villages through the excellent works that won the contest’s top prizes:

Youngsters make videos to honour beauty of Vietnamese women and traditional craft villages
Youngsters make videos to honour beauty of Vietnamese women and traditional craft villages
Youngsters make videos to honour beauty of Vietnamese women and traditional craft villages
Youngsters make videos to honour beauty of Vietnamese women and traditional craft villages

Empower Women Asia (EWA) aims to foster the ethnic minority women and girls in the weaving villages of Vietnam to improve their skills, knowledge, and competitive advantages in producing sustainable textile products, creating opportunities to enhance the living standard and secure stable income. This year, EWA is coming back with the theme “Weaving dreams by the handlooms”, which carries hopes and high aspirations toward spreading the beautiful image of mothers and sisters sitting by the looms, weaving their colourful dreams.

Source: Nhan Dan


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Vietnamese delegation returns home empty-handed from Tokyo Olympics



The Vietnamese delegation to the Tokyo Olympics has left the Games without a medal of any kind as its athletes had an unsuccessful campaign compared to other Southeast Asian friends.

Among other regional representatives, Indonesia took home five medals, the Philippines won two, Thailand and Malaysia secured one each, as of Wednesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese athletes were eliminated from all of their events before gradually making their way home while the Games have yet to be concluded.

All medal hopefuls fail

Vietnam had a total of 18 official and honor tickets to compete in 11 sports at the Tokyo Olympics, which began on July 23 and will close on August 8, after being postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team had set a target to win a medal at the global competition.

However, that modest goal was missed as all of its medal hopefuls had unsuccessful performances, making it the first time that the country has left an Olympics empty-handed since 2004.

In track and field, all eyes were on Quach Thi Lan as she was the only Southeast Asian representative who made it to the women’s 400-meter hurdles semifinals with a result of 55.71 seconds in the qualifying round.

However, Lan’s performance worsened in the semifinals, given the undesirable weather.

The result of 56.78 seconds was pale in comparison with runners from other strong teams and could not help the Vietnamese athlete progress to the finals.

In badminton, Nguyen Thi Linh and veteran Nguyen Tien Minh both stopped in the qualification round.

Linh beat two stronger competitors from France and Switzerland, but was defeated by the world number one, Taiwan’s Tai Tzu Ying, while 38-year-old Minh lost both of his matches.

Vietnamese runner Quach Thi Lan (center) competes in the 400-meter hurdles of Tokyo Olympics on July 31, 2021. Photo: Reuters
Vietnamese runner Quach Thi Lan (center) competes in the 400-meter hurdles category at the Tokyo Olympics on July 31, 2021. Photo: Reuters

Hoang Thi Duyen also missed the most promising opportunity in the women’s 59-kilogram weightlifting event.

Duyen’s failure came as a surprise to spectators as she was anticipated to win a silver medal by the Associated Press.

Her teammate, Thach Kim Tuan, who was also hopeful for a bronze medal, failed in all of his three attempts in the men’s 61-kilogram category.

Vietnam’s hopes in martial arts were dashed as judo fighter Nguyen Thi Thanh Thuy and boxer Nguyen Thi Tam both lost their first match while Taekwondo fighter Truong Thi Kim Tuyen and boxer Nguyen Van Duong won their first matches, but lost their second.

Even the biggest medal hopefuls, shooter Hoang Xuan Vinh, who captured the men’s 10-meter air pistol gold medal and the 50-meter pistol silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and national-record holding swimmer Nguyen Thi Anh Vien, were eliminated after the qualification rounds.

Vietnamese athletes in other sports, including rowing, gymnastics, and archery, could not produce any surprise either.

Vietnamese badminton player Nguyen Thi Linh competes at the Tokyo Olympics. Photo: Thu Sam / Tuoi Tre

Vietnamese badminton player Nguyen Thi Linh competes at the Tokyo Olympics. Photo: Thu Sam / Tuoi Tre

Regional achievements tell nothing

The zero medal run at the Tokyo Olympics has proved that the achievements at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, where Vietnam has always been among the top leaders of the medal tally, unnecessarily reflect the development of sports in the country as well as its peers in the region.

Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines won a total of 41, 30, 28, and 19 slots to the Olympic Games in Japan — all higher than Vietnam’s 18 tickets.

From the 2016 Olympics and earlier, Thailand had also won a total of 33 medals, including nine gold medals, while Indonesia had garnered a combined number of 32 medals, with seven of them being gold.

Thailand claimed its first medal at the 1976 Olympics, while Indonesia did so at the 1998 Games. 

Vietnam has secured only five Olympic medals so far, including one gold, three silvers, and one bronze, with the first-ever medal taken home by taekwondo fighter Tran Hieu Ngan at the 2000 Olymlic Games in Sydney.

In contrast to the Olympic results, the Philippines ranked first with 149 gold medals, Vietnam was the runner-up with 98 gold medals, Thailand followed in third with 92 gold medals, Indonesia placed fourth with 72 gold medals, and Malaysia finished fifth with 55 gold medals at the 2019 SEA Games.

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