From the sidelines, Harry Hodge sizes up Vietnam’s month in sports. Photos provided by Nguyen Quang Liem
It’s hard to put a price on success, but Vietnamese teenager Nguyen Thi Anh Vien is set to cash in big time following a record-breaking performance at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Singapore last month.
Vien, 19, won 10 medals, including eight golds in the women’s 200m backstroke, 200m breaststroke, 200m butterfly, 200m freestyle, 200m individual medley, 400m freestyle, 400m individual medley, and 800m freestyle categories. According to Thanh Nien, she is due to receive more than VND600 million (US$27,750), with VND485 million (US$22,250) from the General Department of Sports to recognise the feat, as well as some VND120 million (US$5,500) for breaking eight records. She broke the games record in the 800m freestyle event and followed that up with another mark in the 400m individual medley less than an hour later.
Vien is one of the most prolific swimmers in the nation’s history. She was the first female Vietnamese swimmer to win a medal at the Asian Games, notching a bronze in the medley at last year’s event in South Korea. She owns national records in 14 disciplines. She currently trains in Florida in the United States, and has deferred a swimming scholarship at the University of Arizona for a year in order to focus on training for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
Corporate backers have also offered the Can Tho native an apartment in Ho Chi Minh City and unlimited flights for two years on Jetstar Pacific, as well as motorbikes and smart phones for her accomplishments. Not bad for a girl who was taught to swim in a muddy canal by her grandfather at a young age.
Women’s boxing will certainly enjoy a heightened profile with gold-medal performances from Le Thi Bang in the women’s bantam weight 54kg category and Nguyen Thi Yen in the women’s flyweight 51kg class.
Sprinter Le Trong Hinh won gold in the men’s 200m sprint, which marked a turning point for Vietnam, as it was the first time a Vietnamese runner tasted victory in this category. And while it wasn’t a gold, the heavily followed men’s national soccer team took home a bronze with a convincing 5-0 victory over Indonesia.
All told, Vietnam finished third in the regional standings with 73 gold medals, 53 silvers and 60 bronzes. At the top of the tally were Thailand with 95 golds, 83 silvers and 69 bronzes and host Singapore with 84 golds, 73 silvers and 102 bronzes.
Not all Happy News from SEA Games
Several cyclists and archers from Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia suffered food poisoning on Jun. 11 at the ongoing Southeast Asian Games in Singapore, according to Vietnam News. The Vietnamese athletes who suffered food poisoning were mainly cyclists. However, their names haven’t been revealed. This incident has got the Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee (Singsoc) and leaders of sport delegations very worried. According to straitstimes.com, the Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee (Singsoc) said in a statement that it had received a report about some players suffering from a bout of diarrhoea. Singsoc said it was investigating the matter with the relevant authorities and reinforcing hygienic practices.
Youngsters Score National Title
Hanoi’s Ngoc Lam Secondary School scored one goal in each half to beat Phu Do 2-0 in the National U13 Student Football Festival final last month in the nation’s capital, writes Vietnam News. Tran Dinh Thai opened the scoring in the first half — it was the only chance that his side created in the face of stormy attacks by Phu Do. Phan Tan Dat doubled the tally towards the end of the second half, making him one of two top scorers in the tournament, with 10 goals.
French Triathlete Triumphant at Ho Tram Beach
Matthieu Ginestet of France won first place in the stamina category at the annual Le Fruit Off-Road Triathlon last month, which saw more than 200 participants in six events from 19 countries this year. Competing in the stamina category for people aged 16 and over, Ginestet took two hours and 36 minutes to complete the triathlon, held at Ho Tram Beach in southern Vietnam. The event included a 750m open water swim, a 40km mountain bike ride and a 10km off-road run. Christian Schussmueller from Germany and Alex Holroyd–Smith of the UK placed second and third.