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Taekwondo fighters to fight for Olympic glory

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Trương Thị Kim Tuyền of Việt Nam (left) competes in the Asian Championship in 2018. Tuyền is expected to secure an Olympic slot at the coming qualification tournament in Jordan. — Photo hcmcpv.org.vn

Taekwondo

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam’s taekwondo fighters are aiming for at least one slot at the coming Olympics in Tokyo.

They will leave Việt Nam on Thursday for intensive training courses in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan before competing in the 2021 Asian Taekwondo Olympic Qualification Tournament in Jordan, in May, and the 24th Asian Taekwondo Championship in Lebanon in June.

Việt Nam won its first Olympic medal in any sport at the 2000 Sydney Games when Trần Hiếu Ngân won silver in taekwondo.

Before her, Trần Quang Hạ and Hồ Nhất Thống triumphed at the Asian Games in 1994 and 1998, respectively.

Despite this history of success in the sport, no Vietnamese representative qualified for the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016. Officials have admitted that a shortage of investment has led to a dip in quality among local athletes.

In recent times, Vietnamese fighters have been eliminated from the early rounds of large events such as the Asian Games, Asian and world championships.

However, a good result at the Southeast Asian Games in 2019 has created some optimism. The team pocketed five titles, five times more than what they targeted in Manila.

“The calendar for Olympic qualifying tournaments has been revealed. We will have about 80 days for training and competing for our target of at least one slot,” said head coach Vũ Anh Tuấn.

“Our hopes rest on athletes Trương Thị Kim Tuyền in the 49kg and Trần Thị Ánh Tuyết in the 57kg categories in the women’s side and Phạm Đăng Quang in the 58kg and Lý Hồng Phúc in the 68kg pool in the men’s.

“Our athletes have received COVID-19 vaccine shots recently and are in good conditions. They are ready for the journey,” Tuấn said.

At the qualifier event, each category will see 16 athletes competing and only the two finalists will advance to the Tokyo competition.

Among all the athletes, Tuyền has the best shot at becoming an Olympian.

The 24-year-old won a gold medal at the world junior championship in 2016, a silver at the 2017 world championship and a title at the Asian championship a year later.

The silver was Việt Nam’s best ever result in a world tournament.

In late 2019, she won two golds from open tournaments in Serbia and Greece to rise to No 10 in the world rankings.

“It is a tough job. Only the two best fighters will win slots instead of four previously. So we have to try really really hard. I will do my best and hope that luck will stand by my side,” Tuyền said at a recent press briefing in Hà Nội.

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/sports/920414/taekwondo-fighters-to-fight-for-olympic-glory.html

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Exquisite images bathed in light

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Ancient Vietnamese royal costumes, landscapes and traditional culture have all provided inspiration for Nguyen Duy Duy to create enchanting 3D lightboxes.

Exquisite images bathed in light
COLOURED IMAGERY: Duy’s lightboxes showcase ancient Vietnamese royal costumes, landscapes, and traditional culture.

A native of Thach That District on the outskirts of Hanoi, Duy came up with the idea of combining LED lighting and the Japanese art of “kirigami”, inspired by shadow puppetry, to create magical lightboxes as his university graduation project in 2018.

With the help of a friend, he experimented making lightboxes for over three years and then established his own brand — Fox Design. He and his friend are now considered the innovators of such creations in Vietnam.

Exquisite images bathed in light
KEY CREATIONS: Duy’s lightboxes are a source of pride for him because he understands the importance of culture for a country.

The 25-year-old’s latest completed project, entitled Việt Nam — Đất Nước và Con Người (Vietnam — Land and People), is a combination of three distinct parts, in which the “People” part aims to honour the beauty of Vietnamese women in traditional or ancient royal dresses.

Meanwhile, the “Land” part features beautiful landscapes in Vietnam, from the north to the south.

When seeking ideas for the project, Duy happened to hear the song Nhớ Về Hà Nội (Remember Hanoi) presented by singer Hong Nhung, which brought back childhood memories of hanging out with his father and rekindled his affection for his hometown.

Exquisite images bathed in light
DETAILED PROCESS: The first step is designing paper layers on a computer, then printing them and placing them in a certain order to complete the image.

Much of the scenery inside his lightboxes is associated with outstanding Hanoi landmarks like the Old Quarter, the Instagram-famous “train street”, and St Joseph’s Cathedral.

Stunning national landscapes also make an appearance, such as terraced rice fields, Hoi An ancient town, and the former imperial city of Hue.

According to Duy, presenting Vietnamese culture and costumes in his lightboxes is both a joy and a source of pride, because he understands that “culture is an integral part of a nation”.

Exquisite images bathed in light
STUNNING DESIGN: A woman in a royal costume, dating back to the 18th century, is the subject of one of Duy’s lightboxes.

“The ‘Vietnam’ part was the hardest for me, as I had to select what I consider to be national symbols,” he recalled. “After talking to my friend, I decided to integrate four cultural and artistic forms into our creations, including tuồng (classical drama), water puppetry, Hue court music, and the Central Highlands gong space.”

Before making any product, Duy must conceptualise, design, set up the background scene, and arrange paper layers on a computer. He then meticulously cuts out designs, which must be printed by hand on art paper in order to ensure precision in the final product.

After the cutting, the paper layers are attached to each other to create a complete image. Each layer must be carefully chosen so that its original quality is maintained, with no shrinking, stretching, or wrinkling due to unfavourable temperature or humidity.

Exquisite images bathed in light
PUT TOGETHER: Each lightbox includes from five to seven or even as many as 15 layers of paper, depending on the desired image and colour. VNA/VNS Photos Hoang Dat

Each lightbox includes from five to seven or sometimes up to 15 layers of paper, depending on the complexity of the context and image. Duy and his friend must strike a balance between component parts, so that the light can pierce through the paper layers and create the intended effect.

The set-up for the LED lighting at the back of the box is also carefully calculated. The ratio of light determines the colours in the final product. Thanks to laser printing technology, each member of Duy’s team can make three for four lightboxes a day with an increasing level of precision and sophistication.

Prior to the “Việt Nam — Land and People” project, Duy made lightboxes featuring famous scenes from classic films like The Lion King or celebrations of traditional Vietnamese festivals, from which he gained a lot of experience.

Sometimes he and his friend decide to start over again if they feel the colour is unsuitable or if light can’t make it through the set-up the way they prefer.

But that doesn’t dampen their spirits, and Duy and his friend are fully invested in pursuing their artistic craft.

“We plan to experiment with other subjects, such as childhood memories, depicting memorable moments that most kids in rural areas would have had, or more sophisticated topics like ‘feng shui’ or Buddha,” Duy said.

VNS

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/entertainment-sports/exquisite-images-bathed-in-light-727631.html

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Vietnamese grandmaster to coach American university chess team

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The Vietnamese grandmaster is well known for his speed chess skills.

Le Quang Liem, the number one chess player in Vietnam, has been appointed the new coach of the Webster University in the US from June.

Liem will take over the position from Susan Polgar, former women’s World Champion, who has decided to retire after nine years on the job, citing health reasons and wanting to spend more time with her family in Florida.

Le Quang Liem used to be a team captain when he was a student of the Webster University chess team.

Liem is well known for his speed chess skills. He won World Blitz Chess Championship in 2013 ahead of several elite players.

 Le Quang Liem received the SPICE Cup 2015 Championship Award from Susan Polgar. File photo

Liem is regarded as having an extremely sharp tactical eye. He has won several open tournaments all across the globe, namely Aeroflot open, HD Bank open, the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE) cup, Kolkata open and the World Youth Under 14 Chess Championship.

“Susan and Paul consider me family. I have learned a lot from them, both in terms of chess expertise and real life. I am honored to accept this position, and begin working with students from SPICE,” Quang Liem wrote on his personal page.

“However, the new assignment will not affect my dedication to Vietnamese chess. I will balance my schedule. For important and official tournaments like SEA Games, World Chess Cup and the Chess Olympiad, I will still be a Vietnamese representative,” Liem added.

Quang Liem had been invited to the Tepe Sigeman chess tournament at the end of this month, where he would compete with chess legend Anatoly Karpov. But the tournament in Sweden was canceled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Liem was the premier chess prodigy from Vietnam and achieved his Grandmaster title at the age of 15. Ever since he has played for the national team of Vietnam and has also been their highest ranked player for the past several years.

Susan Polgar has been the director of the SPICE for 14 years, which she founded. She has also been the head coach of the student chess team at Webster University since 2012. She will officially retire at the end of May.

Polgar and husband, a former Wesbter coach-assistant, have helped the university win eight out of nine most recent national chess competitions.

Hanoitimes

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/entertainment-sports/vietnamese-grandmaster-to-coach-american-university-chess-team-727682.html

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Floating cakes for Cold Foods Festival

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The third day of the third lunar month is the Cold Foods Festival of Vietnamese people. 

During this day, every household prepare traditional floating cakes, ‘banh troi’ (made of bits of brown sugar wrapped in glutinous rice paste and cooked by scalding in boiling water) and ‘banh chay’ (glutinous rice balls with mung beans filling, served in fragrant sweet soup) to offer to their ancestors.

Floating cakes for Cold Foods Festival
Ingredients for ‘banh troi’ include wet glutinous rice powder for wrapping and brown sugar for filling. Meanwhile, making ‘banh chay’ requires wet rice powder for wrapping, pounded mung beans and sugar for fillings; cassava powder, water and sugar to make soup. (Photo: VNA)
Floating cakes for Cold Foods Festival
In order to make banh troi, first, one should wrap pieces of brown sugar with wet rice powder. (Photo: VNA)
Floating cakes for Cold Foods Festival
After moulding, round glutinous rice balls are brought to boil. When two third of them float, they are ready to serve. (Photo: VNA)
Floating cakes for Cold Foods Festival
Cooked ‘banh troi’ are served on plates. (Photo: VNA)
Floating cakes for Cold Foods Festival
They are sprinkled with roasted sesame before offered to altars. (Photo: VNA)
Floating cakes for Cold Foods Festival
‘Banh troi’ and ‘banh chay’ are offered to ancestors in the Cold Foods Festival. (Photo: VNA)
Floating cakes for Cold Foods Festival
‘Banh troi’ is served on plate while ‘banh chay’ in bowl. (Photo: VNA)
Floating cakes for Cold Foods Festival
‘Banh troi’ nowadays is more colorful as being mixed with natural food colourings, such as gac fruit, taro, etc. (Photo: VNA)

VNP/VNA

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/entertainment-sports/floating-cakes-for-cold-foods-festival-727690.html

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