Pride for Vietnamese sport

Wednesday, 2015-09-02 12:05:38
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NDO – Sports have played an indispensable part in Vietnam’s development since the first Independence Day on September 2, 1945. As President Ho Chi Minh once said, “Healthy people make a prosperous nation.” Over the past 70 years, athletes have brought home an array of outstanding achievements.

On the occasion of 70th anniversary of National Day (September 2), Nhan Dan Online introduces seven outstanding athletes, harvesting sparkling achievements for Vietnam since national reunification and reintegration into the world.

Golden shooter Dang Thi Dong

Dang Thi Dong (centre) wins a gold medal at the 1989 SEA Games.

Dang Thi Dong may be the first name that comes up when mentioning Vietnamese shooting.

Limited as resources were for Vietnam’s athletes in the early years of the country’s global integration, Dang Thi Dong’s shooting talent forced the region’s premier marksmen to acknowledge her skills. At the 16th SEA Games in 1991, Dong won the standard rifle prone gold medal with 995 points, breaking the SEA Games record of 585 points and surpassing the Asian record of 994 points set by China’s Jin Dong Xiang.

Dong brought home five gold medals in a row for Vietnam at the 16th to 20th SEA Games. During the last SEA Games competition of her career, Dong still managed to pick up one silver and one bronze medal despite being 42 already. For those reasons, Dong deserves to stand first on the list of outstanding athletes glorifying Vietnam.

Tran Hieu Ngan with Vietnam’s first Olympic medal

Taekwondo artist Tran Hieu Ngan carved her name in the history of Vietnamese sport as the athlete to win the first Olympic medal for the country.

Fifteen years have gone by since Ngan brought home the women’s 49kg silver medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games; that moment remains an unforgettable memory in the hearts of Ngan and home fans.

Despite another silver medal won by weightlifter Hoang Anh Tuan at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Ngan’s first Olympic medal for Vietnam may still be the most memorable highlight in Vietnamese sport history.

Record breaker Nguyen Thi Anh Vien

Swimmer Nguyen Thi Anh Vien, known as ‘the little mermaid’, has now taken centre stage among Vietnam’s sports lovers following her excellent performance at the recent 28th SEA Games in Singapore.

Vien took the spotlight in both the domestic and international media with eight individual golds and eight new SEA Games records – a proud achievement for Vietnamese swimming as ten years ago, the team had to struggle to pocket a single SEA Games gold medal.

At the FINA World Cup in Moscow, Russia earlier last month, the little mermaid continued to impress home fans by swimming away with a bronze medal in the women’s 200m individual medley event, the best result achieved by a Vietnamese swimmer at a world-class competition to date, opening up opportunities for her qualifying for the swimming finals at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Vien is currently Vietnam’s only female athlete to secure an official berth in Rio de Janeiro next year.

Phan Thi Ha Thanh, golden girl of Vietnamese gymnastics

Vietnamese gymnastics is currently leading Southeast Asia and has been step by step approaching the Asian and world levels, with gymnast Phan Thi Ha Thanh among the most outstanding pioneers.

Thanh has constantly made historic performances for Vietnamese gymnastics over the past few years. She became the first Vietnamese gymnast to win a medal in an elite world-class competition - the women’s vault bronze medal at the 2011 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Japan – marking a significant milestone for Vietnamese gymnastics in conquering the world’s top challenges.

A year later, Thanh went on to make history with the first-ever Asian vault gold medal for the country at the 5th Artistic Gymnastics Asian Championships in China.

Most recently, Thanh had home fans on their feet after winning three gold medals in the individual all-around, vault and balance beams events at the 28th SEA Games in Singapore, contributing significantly to affirming the status of Vietnamese gymnastics in the regional arena.

Queen of speed Vu Thi Huong

Vu Thi Huong has been named as “queen of speed” by the Vietnamese media for her stunning 100m and 200m dash showing in the Southeast Asian arena.

Despite slamming the 100m gold medal at the 23rd SEA Games in 2005, Huong was officially crowned “speed queen” at the 24th SEA Games two years later, where she demonstrated absolute domination in the both the 100m and 200m distances.

Huong held on to that title for a long time before saying goodbye to her athletics career in late 2014.

Apart from her impressive regional achievements, Huong also made history as the first Vietnamese track and field athlete to win an Asian Games medal - taking the 100m bronze at the 2010 Games in Guangzhou, China.

Le Cong Vinh, a footballer with a historic header

A number of football stars have emerged throughout the history of Vietnamese sports, with Le Cong Vinh considered one of the top names.

With his historic header on the night of December 28, 2008, Cong Vinh helped Vietnam overcome Thailand to win their first Southeast Asian championship title in history. Millions of Vietnam’s football fans poured down streets to celebrate as their long-standing dream finally came true.

As a player highly appreciated for his spirit of self-improvement, profession and individual achievements (winning the Golden Ball award in 2004, 2006 and 2007), Cong Vinh deserves to represent the generation of players in the renewal period with significant contributions to Vietnamese football.

Nguyen Tien Minh, “golden racket” of Vietnamese badminton

Nguyen Tien Minh has been known as the first and only Vietnamese badminton player to ever make the world’s top ten and to win a world-class medal – the men’s singles bronze at the 2013 BWF World Championships.

Despite his failure to win the SEA Games gold medal as well as to make the podium at the world’s largest Games, Minh has still made home fans proud with his significant contribution to promoting development of the badminton department in particular and Vietnamese sport as a whole.

Nguyen Tien Minh used to be a powerful name, attracting a large number of local fans to the gymnasium, which was rarely seen in other athletes.

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