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Vietnam’s Olympics performance to be reviewed, experts call for bigger investment



Under heavy rain, Quach Thi Lan tried her best but could not reach the final of the women’s 400m hurdles at the Tokyo Olympics.

Lan was the last Vietnamese athlete at the Games but the most successful and her result was better than expected. A place in the semi-finals is the nation’s highest result in athletics at the Olympics in history.

The Vietnam Olympic team arrived home empty-handed after winning medals at all of the last three Olympics. Their incomplete mission highlighted Vietnam’s weaknesses and the amount of work that needs to be done to fix its problems.  

Losses and hopes

Vietnam sent 18 athletes to compete in 11 sports in the Olympics. None of them were tasked with winning a medal but sports officials still hoped that they would have at least a weightlifting bronze to bring home. Two athletes Thach Kim Tuan and Hoang Thi Duyen showed great potential in the lead up to the competition.

However, both veteran Tuan and newbie Duyen failed to shine as their performances were not as good in Tokyo as they had been at home. Injuries were partly blamed for their losses.

Senior shooter Hoang Xuan Vinh earned his slot thanks to an invitation from the organisers to defend his title. Some believed he could win a medal but he had not hit his peak for several years and subsequently, he missed out.

The rest of the athletes came to the Olympics with a strong spirit but more to gain some real-world tournament experience for future competitions.

Vietnam Sports Administration (VSA) deputy director Le Hoang Yen told Việt Nam News in an interview that there was a big gap between Vietnam and the rest of the world.

There were, however, some highlights for the team.

Apart from Lan, boxer Nguyen Van Duong also had a good result. Duong was a nobody at his Olympic debut. But he defeated Azerbaijani Aliyev Tayfur, who placed fifth in the world championship in 2019, in his men’s featherweight bout.

His win was a milestone for Vietnam in a return to the Olympics after 33 years.

Duo Luong Thi Thao and Dinh Thi Hao also made history as they achieved the highest ranking ever for Vietnam in rowing in an Olympics. They came in No 15 in the women’s lightweight double sculls.

Badminton player Nguyen Thuy Linh, world No 49, performed successfully with two wins over No 41 Qi Xuefei of France and No 46 Sabina Zaquet from Switzerland in the group round. She also played well before losing to world No 1 Tai Tzu-ying of Chinese Taipei and failing to advance.

After her first Olympics, Linh, 23, said she believed that she would quickly improve and would be equal to her highest-ranked rivals in the near future. 

Solutions to be discussed

Compared to the Olympics in Brazil, Vietnam’s result in Tokyo made headlines in national media and raised questions in the sporting community.

Five years ago, the team came home with one gold and one silver, making the Rio Olympics the most successful ever.

This time, however, they brought nothing home and statistics showed that 10 out of the 18 athletes performed well under their full ability.

“I must confirm that the Olympics is a tough tournament for Vietnam. We have to keep in mind that not all athletes are competing for medals as they are competing against world-class athletes. Just a few of them in specific sports have the opportunity to win a medal,” said VSA deputy director Tran Duc Phan.

“Gold and silver by Hoang Xuan Vinh and some medals of other athletes are only highlights of our investment in sports in the past. This year, 18 Olympians showed Vietnam’s true position in the world,” he said.

The chef de mission said there were reasons both in preparation for the event and during the competition for Vietnam’s failure to bring home a medal and one of them was the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most athletes had no international intensive training course or tournament to sharpen their skills. Swimmer Nguyen Huy Hoang, for example, earned his slot very early but he could only do dryland workouts for months and our weightlifters were quarantined for 42 days after they took part in the qualifiers.”

Deputy Director Phan affirmed that Vietnam athletes were not in their best shape physically.

“We are shorter, thinner and weaker and we always feel nervous even shaking ahead of our competitions. We know the gap between us and our friends, therefore we knew what our result would be here. I am not happy with that but our athletes did their best,” said Phan.

Former SEA Games champion Vu Thi Huong agreed it was poor preparation.

“If they had good preparation and were in good condition, they would be more confident to compete, and vice versa. Poor preparation here could be due to injuries,” said retired Huong, who ran in the 100 metres in the 2008 Olympics.

Other reasons could be mistakes made by the coaching board who had questionable tactics and failed to address the mental health of athletes.

“Tuan’s and Duyen’s personal bests are in the Olympics’ top three but they could not make it. Coaches may not do a good job as their tactics are not suitable and it could not help them perform well,” said Nguyen Trong Ho, VSA’s director of the National Sports Complex.

According to Ho who used to be a trainer, the role of the coach is important. They are the key to pushing athletes to achieve more and reach higher.

“We have many potential players but it seems that the training programmes are not good enough so our talent cannot grow. It is because of the coaching that does not meet their demands,” Ho said.

“Elite athletes need professional coaching methods which are different from that of young ones. In Vietnam, most coaches go along with his/her athletes from the junior to senior period. It is okay if they can maintain it at a high level but if they do not develop in several years, a change in coaching is a must, otherwise their talents will be wasted.”

Meanwhile Hoang Vinh Giang, vice chairman of the Vietnam Olympic Committee (VOC), said the investment for key athletes was not suitable.

“They must be given a professional training environment with advanced facilities, a good nutrition regime and quality coaches. Such an environment, and being surrounded by good athletes, would help Vietnamese athletes become more professional, thicken their experience, and strengthen their competitiveness. They would not be nervous when going to big Games,” said Giang.

Ho also said there needed to be greater investment in sport.

“There are several points that we need to focus on: main competitions, key sports, important events in these sports, and talented athletes. If we really want to reach the Olympic level, we must invest in Olympic sports, then sports of the Asian Games, then the SEA Games. It is hard to cover everything at once,” he said.

Ho who is the former head of the VSA’s Elite Sport 1 Department, said it is necessary to pick Olympics sports in which Vietnam shows the most strength. 

“Athletics and swimming are two sports where our chance of winning a medal is low. I don’t want to say ‘zero’ because Vietnamese people’s physique can’t compare to their international friends. But weightlifting, badminton, archery, shooting and martial arts are different. If we focus on them methodically we could equally vie for medals at the Olympics,” he said.

“Weightlifting and martial arts are key sports but we should choose weight categories up to 65kg for men and 60kg for women, which we are really good at. Pay attention to them, and give them all the best to convert them to our key sports in all competitions.”

VOC Vice Chairman Giang, who brought many sports to Vietnam, also suggested that the sport managers needed to change their mindset when selecting activities.

“A scientific system to select quality players is a must. It would help to pick players for suitable sports. If we can carry out these activities, we could either save money or have more effective investment in our athletes,” said Giang.

Both Giang and Ho agreed that in the near future it will be difficult for Vietnam to find enough financial support for sport. It is necessary to have a long-term strategy and be patient.

VSA deputy director Phan promised that meetings between sport managers, coaches and athletes would be held back in Vietnam to discuss solutions.

Although the result was poor, Vietnam has learnt lessons and will find a better way to compete in coming events.

“We need to set up a project that can be adapted to reality. It should include a clear point of view about investment, proposal plans and how to carry them out.” 

“It is my hope that our athletes will be ready to vie for medals in the next Olympics in three or seven years,” said Phan.

Source: Vietnam News



Nhi wins first WBO world belt for Việt Nam




Nguyễn Thị Thu Nhi of Việt Nam celebrates her WBO World Title win in Ansan, South Korea, on Saturday. — Photo courtesy of Cocky Buffalo Gym

HÀ NỘI — Nguyễn Thị Thu Nhi has become Việt Nam’s first World Boxing Organisation champion after winning a WBO belt on Saturday in Ansan, South Korea.

The Vietnamese boxer took the title on a split decision with two judges scoring Nhi at 96 points, two more than her Japanese rival Etsuko Tada after 10 rounds of the women’s mini-flyweight title fight. 

Nhi made history becoming the first ever Vietnamese to win a professional WBO belt. It was a great gift for her after she celebrated her 25th birthday on Friday.

Back in March, she defeated Kanyarat Yoohanngoh of Thailand in the WBO Asia Pacific Boxing Match’s minimum-weight category on points after 10 rounds to give her this title shot.

“I am very happy and proud. I would never have imagined that I would make my world champion dream come true,” said Nhi.

“I brought Việt Nam’s spirit and willingness into this fight in all 10 hard rounds. This victory is for my family and my supporters.”

Nguyễn Thị Thu Nhi of Việt Nam (left) lands a punch on Japan’s Etsuko Tada on her way to victory. — Photo courtesy of Cocky Buffalo Gym

Nhi was considered the underdog compared to her 40-year-old opponent in both experience and record.

While Tada has recorded 26 matches with 20 wins (seven KOs), three draws and three losses, Nhi has fought just four matches winning them all. 

“I was a little nervous prior to the match because Tada is really strong and experienced. However, after two first rounds, I found she was not as scary as I thought. I recognised her weaknesses and did my job better than her, and I won,” Nhi said, adding that the belt was priceless because she won it after months of practising locally because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking about his boxer, South Korean promoter Kim Sang-bum, organiser of the fight, said this WBO title match was one of the biggest competitions of the year.

Prior to it, many people thought Nhi could not make her task but Kim himself believed in Nhi who he has coached for several years.

He said Nhi has good technique while her physique has been improved a lot after two months’ training in Uzbekistan. —

Nguyễn Thị Thu Nhi of Việt Nam (left) attacks the more experienced Etsuko Tada. — Photo courtesy of Cocky Buffalo Gym


Nguyễn Thị Thu Nhi of Việt Nam (left)  suffered an eye injury during the fight but still held on to be crowned world champion. — Photo courtesy of Cocky Buffalo Gym




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Star boxer claims historic WBO world belt after tough fight



Star boxer claims historic WBO world belt after tough fight

Nguyen Thi Thu Nhi receives the WBO World belt in South Korea on October 23, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Nghia Phu

Nguyen Thi Thu Thi won the first-ever World Boxing Organization belt for Vietnam after defeating a Japanese opponent in South Korea Saturday afternoon.

Nhi and Etsuko Tada gave spectators a great show throughout 10 rounds. Despite being way less experienced than Tada, Nhi lasted until the end and won.

The Vietnamese ace boxer entered the match with an experience of four professional fights. She won the WBO Asia-Pacific belt in February 2020, her fourth match. Tada, in turn, is the number one mini-flyweight boxer in the world and holds the WBO world championship. Before facing Nhi, the 40-year-old had 26 fights, won 20, drew three and lost three.

The two boxers started the match slow and carefully to get to know each other. In the third round, Nhi hit Tada with a hook that she countered with a straight punch. Although Nhi is shorter in height and arm span, she is skillful with her moves and powerful hooks.

Tada sped it up in the fifth round with rapid jabs, but Nhi also put up a great fight. In the ninth round, Tada made Nhi’s eye bleed after a hook. Using this advantage, Tada attacked continuously in the last round. However, Nhi remained on target despite limited vision.

Overall, the referees ruled Nhi the winner with a score of 96-94.

This is not only the first WBO World belt for Vietnamese boxing but also the first professional title for a boxer from Vietnam.

Nhi, 25, started practicing boxing when she was 13. In 2018, she began her professional career in the ring.

Nguyễn Thị Thu Nhi 96-94 Etsuko Tada


Star boxer claims historic WBO world belt after tough fight

Nguyễn Thị Thu Nhi 96-94 Etsuko Tada

Nguyen Thi Thu Nhi beats Etsuko Tada to win Vietnam’s first WBO world belt, South Korea, October 23, 2021.


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Ho Chi Minh City Wings deal first loss to Thang Long Warriors in overtime



The Thang Long Warriors, last year’s Vietnam Professional Basketball League (VBA) runners-up, suffered their first defeat this season against the Ho Chi Minh City Wings in a neck and neck performance that stretched into overtime.

The trend in this year’s VBA season seems to be a widespread dependence on trios of two foreign players and one Vietnamese player for both defense and offense. 

Both the Warriors and the Wings used this tactic successfully throughout their first games of the season.

The Warriors’ Tim Guers and Jordan Young are the two foreign players on the team’s ‘trio,’ with each able to find the net both inside and outside the three-point line. 

On the Wings, veteran player Vincent Nguyen has earned himself a key position thanks to his ability to clear the court for his two foreign teammates, Makinde London and Jeremy Smith. 

The Warriors and the Wings met each other in Game 9 of the VBA Premier Bubble Games – Brought to you by NovaWorld Phan Thiet at the VBA-NTU Arena, with the Warriors heavily favored thanks to their second place finish in the league last season.

From left to right, Ho Chi Minh City Wings’ Makinde London, Jeremy Smith, and Vincent Nguyen. Photo: Vietnam Professional Basketball League
From left to right, Ho Chi Minh City Wings’ Makinde London, Jeremy Smith, and Vincent Nguyen. Photo: Vietnam Professional Basketball League

Being favored, however, did not translate to a stellar performance as the Wings’ defense spent the first half of the game continuously shutting down the Warriors’ offense.

During the second half, both teams went on the attack, leading to a 79-79 tie at the end of regulation.

The Warriors got off to a weak start when team captain Thai Hung and foreign players Tim Guers and Bryan Coleman fouled out at the beginning of the overtime period. 

The Wings were quick to take advantage of the Warriors’ setback and handed them their first defeat at 96-98.

The Wings’ Jeremy Smith was voted Player of the Game thanks to his strong performance and for sinking nearly half his team’s points.

From left to right, Thang Long Warriors’ Jordan Young, Tim Guers, and Bryan Coleman. Photo: Vietnam Professional Basketball League
From left to right, Thang Long Warriors’ Jordan Young, Tim Guers, and Bryan Coleman. Photo: Vietnam Professional Basketball League

The VBA Premier Bubble Games – Brought to you by NovaWorld Phan Thiet is broadcast on OnSports and two over-the-top media services, VTVcab On and Myclip.

Games air from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm every day, as well as 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm on Sundays. 

Fans can also catch replays on digital platforms including the VBA’s verified YouTube channel, the Bong Ro TV Facebook page, and the Bong Ro TV YouTube channel.

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