Aside from their tourist spots and excellent cuisines, Vietnam also takes pride on their love for sports. Be it contact or mind games, Vietnamese people aren’t those who disappoint. Proof to this is their escalating slot in the FIFA World Rankings. Though some are products of their past crises, these Vietnam sports are mapping them in the athletic world.
Contact sports like karate, judo, and taekwondo are popular to young Vietnamese locals. Aside from the self-defense purposes, they are also making a name in the competitive stage. Although they also have a local martial arts sport, it’s undeniable that Vietnam locals love this foreign influence.
This 2017, 19-year old named Nguyen Thi Ngoan became the first Vietnamese to bag a gold medal in the Karate 1 Premier League. She beat her competitor from Canada and made history for Vietnam. This means that Vietnam has a lot to show when it comes to this martial arts.
Who said this Asian country can’t excel in the hoops? With an average height of 5 ft. 4in., locals here prove that height isn’t always might in the hard court. The sport is rising in its ranks as Saigon Heat brings the sports closer to home.
Just last year, the first intercollegiate basketball tourney was launched. This year, Saigon Heat’s home court games became the most attended among all the ASEAN Basketball League or ABL. Vietnam’s basketball national team sends more noise in the sports, attracting more and more locals to try their hands on the ball.
If there’s one good thing French colonization brought to Vietnam, it’s obviously football. Locals are crazy about this Vietnam sports that almost every teenager had once tried to be in a team. They have a strong grass root program for it which reflects their continuously rising world ranking in the sport.
With their penchant in football, Western companies had started funding programs to improve the sport. Among those that made their names internationally are football players Le Cong Vinh, Le Tan Tai, and Dat Nguyen who became a linebacker for the NFL.
Badminton is one the most common sports for middle-aged and young locals. Aside from football, badminton is one of Vietnam’s sports arsenals. In fact, there are numerous Badminton clubs and federations in this country like those located at the RMIT Saigon.
Just walk in the parks like Bach Thao or Thong Nat and you’ll see a couple of locals folks playing badminton. Some even take it to the streets. You can also try playing this with the locals, just borrow a racket and meet new friends.
Vovinam is Vietnam’s local martial arts which are a product of the pursuit to free Vietnam from the French colonization. This is viewed as a suitable means of self-defense and was inspired from the Chinese Kung Fu.
This sport included unarmed combat moves like kicks, elbows, and escape techniques. It also utilizes armed techniques with swords, axes, cutlasses, and more. This follows the principles of Yin and Yang, the soft and hard which targets to develop the physical and inner strength. The uniform worn for this sport has a similarity to that of Taekwondo.
Volleyball is another established sport in Vietnam with their women’s team beating neighboring countries on regional competitions like SEA Games. Their women’s league is famous all over the country and highly watched and anticipated during matches.
A few of the famous Vietnam players are Nguyen Huu Ha, Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hoa, and Pham Thi Kim Hue. One of their celebrated successes is during 2012’s Asian Women’s Cup Volleyball Championship. This Vietnam sports is continuously growing and luring more girls to join federations and programs.
Not only did Vietnam excel in active sports, but also in mind-boggling matches. This country is a haven of internationally known chess players like Paul Truong and Cesar Boutteville. Actually, this country is considered as Asian’s chess factory.
One of their locals named Le Quang Liem was the first Asian to win the Aeroflot Open in Moscow in 2010. So if you think Russians rule the world of chess, Vietnam will slap the world with its dexterity.
8. Ping Pong/ Table Tennis
Table tennis is considered the old folks’ sport. Still, there are training centers in the country that prep for competitive matches. The Vietnam Davis Cup and The Fed Cup regularly hosts ping pong matches with the latter exclusive for the women’s division.
But if you’re interested to join the locals, the old folks will surely won’t mind letting you in.
Who would have thought that Asian country like Vietnam could rule the football world? The basketball sport? For some, it’s quite a surprise. But Vietnam’s love for different sports had been present for a long time and is here to stay. So the next time you visit this country, don’t forget to join the folks for a Vietnam sports match.
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