The South Asian Amateur Games took place at RMIT’s District 7 campus in Ho Chi Minh City on May 20, with 10 men’s teams and more than a dozen women’s teams from throughout the region competing for Gaelic football glory.
Gaelic football is also known as Peil Ghaelach and is played between two teams of 15 players on a grass pitch. Scoring is accomplished by kicking or punching the ball into the other team’s goals for three points, or between two upright posts above the goals and over a crossbar above the ground for a single point.
Hundreds of players descended upon the city with more than half-a-dozen countries represented. Clubs included the Saigon Gaels; Viet Celts; Thai GAA; Singapore; Orang Éire (Kuala Lumpur); a combined Johor Bahru (Malaysia) and Manila squad; and the Taiwan Celts. Some had more representation than others, with each country bringing a different amount of teams.
“Over the past four years the team has rapidly grown from a Saturday kick-about to having two intensive trainings each week,” said Saigon Gaels President Cormac Hamill. “Last year, in the South Asian Games in Bangkok, the Ladies’ A team reached the semi-finals and the Men’s team won the Junior plate.”
He adds: “What makes playing Irish football in Southeast Asia so rewarding is meeting a huge amount of international and local players all so enthusiastic about playing. And winning, of course.”
A welcome party on the Friday that weekend was held at the Dublin Gate Pub in Ho Chi Minh City, with the after-party at the Hotel Continental. Champions were named from Thai, Singaporean, Filipino, Malaysian and Vietnamese teams, boding well for the growth of the game not just in Vietnam but throughout the region.
Men’s Senior Cup
Thailand beat Singapore
Singapore beat Saigon
Men’s Junior Cup
Orang Eire beat Johor Bahru / Manila (mixed team)
Women’s Senior Cup
Singapore C beat Singapore A
Saigon Red beat Taiwan A
Women’s Junior Cup
Viet Celts beat Singapore B
Sports in Brief
Vietnamese Marksmen Gun Down Medals Galore
Vietnamese shooters were on target at the Southeast Asian Shooting Championships at Subang Shooting Range, Malaysia last month, according to Vietnam News.
Phan Cong Minh won a gold medal for Vietnam in the men’s 25m standard pistol individual event, scoring 569 points to top the podium. He was followed by teammate Ha Minh Thanh with 567 points. Minh later grabbed his second title in the team event, scoring 1,682 points together with Thanh and Bui Hong Phong.
Bui Thi Thu Thuy grabbed a third gold as she claimed first place in the women’s 10m air pistol individual.
The Vietnamese team also grabbed two bronzes. These included Nguyen Thi Ha coming third in the women’s 10m air pistol individual, while Duong Thi Luyen, Nguyen Huyen Trang and Nguyen Thi Ngan finished third in the women’s 50m rifle prone team category.
A Day At the Races
A massive race track has been inaugurated in Binh Duong Province, where horse, dog and motorcycle races are all set to attract visitors, according to Tuoi Tre.
The complex is able to house a range of racing events, including horse, dog, motorcycle, go-kart, and jet-ski racing in addition to other options.
The Dai Nam Racing Complex has a capacity of up to 20,000, with three giant LED monitors to allow a clear view of the races from any seat. The venue cost a total of VND1 trillion (US$45 million) to build, and is part of a larger, 200-hectare culture, tourism and sporting complex in Thu Dau Mot.
Located about 30km from Ho Chi Minh City, the racing venue is expected to replace Phu Tho Racing Track, which closed in 2011.
Thang Long Warriors Begin Playing
After a spectacular and successful first season, the VBA — the first professional basketball league in Vietnam — is aiming for a more impressive return both in magnitude and intensity.
According to a press release from the league, a new Hanoi team, Thang Long Warriors, will join the Hanoi Buffaloes to create a crosstown rivalry in the capital. The club also expressed interest in granting more players the chance to play professional basketball.
The team’s name was inspired by “Thang Long — Flying Dragon”, the legendary symbol for Hanoi. The team’s head coach is Lee Tao Dana, who brings experience from the NBA, Thai Super Basketball League and college teams in the US.
More information about the Thang Long Warriors can be found vba.vn or on the team’s official Fanpage: facebook.com/TLWarriors.
Saigon Heat Part Ways with Coach
Saigon Heat head coach Tony Garbelotto’s time with the Ho Chi Minh City squad has come to an end. Garbelotto took over running the team when coach Jason Rabedeaux passed away in 2014. He presided over the Vietnam men’s national team as well, although that team was coached by Danang Dragons coach Donte Hill at the SEABA Tournament this month. His successor for the Heat has yet to be named, but Todd Purves, who coaches the Hanoi Buffaloes, will lead the national team at the SEA Games in a couple of months’ time.