Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Vũ Thị Trang is hard at work preparing for her upcoming competition, getting her rackets and shuttles ready, warming up, and starting her training with a senior teammate in Brazil.
Trang is living her dream, competing in the first Olympic Games of her career.
She is the only female Vietnamese badminton player in Brazil and will kick off her tournament on August 12 at the Riocentro, Pavilion 4.
The 24-year-old has been chasing this opportunity for many years, and her efforts have transformed her from a little girl into the national No 1 seed.
As her sister was a badminton player, Trang fell in love with the sport, and she started playing at the age of seven at a club in her village in Tân Dĩnh Commune, Bắc Giang Province.
“She really loved her racket and carried it with her all the time, even during meals and at bedtime,” Trang’s mother Nguyễn Thị Xuân said.
The girl practised badminton every day and showed great prowess, even beyond that of other members of the club.
“She always tried hard to perform all the techniques well, even if it took her days to manage difficult ones. Never giving up and hungering for success are her most prominent characteristics, which led me to view her as a good player in the future,” coach Phạm Văn Vũ from her club said.
But Vũ could not imagine how far Trang would reach.
Two years after her first day at the commune club, she was selected for the provincial team. Another two years passed, and she joined the national youth team, being trained for the national squad in Đà Nẵng Province.
Her first title in a women’s doubles event came when Trang was 17. She became the national champion in the singles category the next year.
By 2008, Trang had grabbed 19 triumphant titles in local competitions. She won a bronze medal at the first Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010. She also took home two bronzes at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in 2013 and 2015, with the best ever result for a female Vietnamese badminton player in the region’s biggest sports festival.
In 2014, Trang took both singles and doubles titles at the Kawasaki International Series in Việt Nam and entered the third round of the world championship. She won the Vivo Surdiman Cup in China and the White Nights in Russia last year.
Trang made history on becoming the world’s No 39 seed in July 2015, the highest rank achieved by a Vietnamese woman.
She is the second Vietnamese woman to join the Olympics after Lê Ngọc Nguyên Nhung, who competed in Beijing in 2008.
In Rio de Janeiro, Trang will compete in Pool J and will play world’s No. 6 seed Nozomi Okuhara of Japan and Indonesian Lindaweni Fanetri.
Okuhara, 21, became the youngest women’s singles champion ever at the All Japan Badminton Championships in 2011.
She won a BWF World junior title in the girls’ singles event in 2012 after her bronze victory in the previous year.
Okuhara was a runner-up at the Asian Junior Badminton Championship in that same year, after taking her first Grand Prix title at the Canada Open. Later, she grabbed the gold medal at the Japan Super Series.
Earlier this year, Okuhara won the prestigious All England Open, thereby becoming the first Japanese women’s singles player to lift the title in the last 39 years.
Fanetri was the bronze medalist at last year’s world championship before placing third in the Surdiman Cup and SEA Games’ team events.
The 26-year-old also pocketed an individual bronze at the Asian Games in 2010 and a silver in a team event at the SEA Games a year later. — VNS