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Vietnamese athletics eye reign defence at SEA Games 31

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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

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/entertainment-sports/vietnamese-athletics-eye-reign-defence-at-sea-games-31-715704.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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