71st anniversary of the Vietnam People’s Army (December 22, 1944-2015)

Army’s sports team sees unceasing progress

Tuesday, 2015-12-22 12:31:46
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One of the most brilliant athletes of the VPA team, Captain Nguyen Thi Anh Vien
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NDO – The Vietnamese Army sports team has stood side by side with the development of the national sports sector over the past years, with many soldier athletes bringing home prestigious medals on both regional and world levels, including Nguyen Thi Anh Vien (swimming), Man Ba Xuan (wrestling), Le Bich Phuong (karate), Vu Van Huyen (athletics) and Hoang Xuan Vinh (shooting).

>>> Anh Vien leaves Military World Games with three medals

What the Army sports team has achieved not only contributes to the common medal collection of the Vietnamese delegation on international arenas but also gives a strong boost to national sports in its process of international integration.

Boosting development of high-performance sports

At present, the Army has 11 high-performance units tasked with selecting and training athletes in 24 sports under the national competition system. Over the past few years, athlete selection and training by Army units have received significant attention with notable results, while the equipment for training has also been upgraded to meet modern standards. The Army currently has two stadiums and ten training centres and multifunctional gymnasiums, several of which are qualified for hosting national-level tournaments as well as domestic cultural events.

A stable source of athletes and modern facilities have created a firm premise for the Army sports team to constantly achieve high rankings at the National Games as well as improvements in terms of both the quantity and quality of medals. Specifically, from 181 medals of different colours (48 gold, 60 silver and 73 bronze) at the fifth National Games in 2006, the Army team maintained its third-place position at the sixth National Games four years later with 231 medals of different types (68 gold, 85 silver and 78 bronze), with several outstanding individuals bagging many personal gold medals, including swimmer Nguyen Thanh Hai (five gold, six silver and four bronze) and shooter Hoang Xuan Vinh (five gold and three bronze).

At the seventh National Games last year, the Army team again finished third overall with 251 medals – 106 gold, 54 silver and 91 bronze – while breaking eight national records and another 13 National Games records. A number of collectives and individuals brilliantly completed their tasks exceeding the medal targets assigned by the Ministry of National Defence, including the swimming team, the boxing team, the shooting team, the wrestling team, Colonel Hoang Xuan Vinh (shooter) and Captain Nguyen Thi Anh Vien (swimmer).

Contributing significantly to Vietnam’s performance on international arenas

In addition to achieving high results at domestic competitions, soldier athletes have made significant contributions to polishing Vietnam’s medal tally on international arenas. At the 26th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in 2011, 47 Army athletes brought home 34 medals of different colours for the Vietnamese sports contingent, with 13 gold (12 individual and one team), 14 silver (12 individual and two team) and seven bronze (six individual and one team), and broke two SEA Games records with shooter Ha Minh Thanh in the men’s 10m rapid fire pistol and finswimmer Tran Thi Truc Linh in the women’s 4x100m relay event.

The 27th SEA Games in Myanmar two years later saw the Army athletes contribute 14 gold medals (nine individual and five team) to Vietnam’s tally. Vietnam’s shooting team surpassed the envisaged medal target winning seven gold medals, with Colonel Hoang Xuan Vinh accounting for three gold (one individual and two team). In regards to athletics, while many golden hopes failed to live up to expectations, Nguyen Van Lai, a soldier athlete, quietly grabbed two gold medals. For an unexpected athlete, Lai performed brilliantly claiming victory in the 5,000m and 10,000m races, which had never seen such a finish for Vietnam in previous editions.

Regarding the continental level, 25 Army trainers and athletes were included in the Vietnamese sports delegation to the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China five years ago. Vietnam’s soldier athletes won a total of six medals, including one gold (the solitary gold medal of Vietnam at the Games), three silver and two bronze.

Most recently, at the 2015 Military World Games in the Republic of Korea, the 34-athlete sports contingent of the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) competed in six events – boxing (seven athletes), judo (two), shooting (six), swimming (one), taekwondo (six) and women’s volleyball (12) – finishing 31st overall with one gold, one silver and two bronze medals. Swimmer Nguyen Thi Anh Vien was the most brilliant Vietnamese performer securing one medal of each colour. This was considered a big success for a VPA team with a modest number of competitors.

There is a strong hope that the Army sports team, inspired by their past achievements, will continue to see much more success on regional, continental and world arenas in the years to come.