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Taekwondo stars to compete on Greek beach

Update: May, 05/2017 - 09:00
Châu Tuyết Vân (left) and her teammates compete at Singapore’s Southeast Asian Games in 2015. They won a gold medal. — Photo vietbao.vn
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam are taking part in the World Taekwondo Beach Championships, which will take place on the island of Rhodes, Greece on May 5-6.

Athletes will have the opportunity to experience the sport for the first time in an outdoor area and will compete in 26 categories.

The inaugural event will not include a kyorugi (sparring) competition. Instead, it will feature recognised and free style poomsae (forms) competition and two brand new categories of “freestyle dynamic kicks and breaking challenge” and “technical breaking”.

In big change for the tournament on the beach, athletes will compete in special beach uniforms featuring sleeveless shirts, tank tops, long-sleeve shirts, shorts, and long trousers.

The federation believes that the beach uniform would highlight the svelte, toned physiques of athletes which are often hidden under the regular taekwondo uniforms and protective gear.

The 10-strong team Vietnamese will take part in different categories. The team will include top athletes like Châu Tuyết Vân, Nguyễn Thị Lệ Kim, Nguyễn Thiên Phụng, Hồ Thanh Phong and Lê Thanh Trung, who are well known in the sport.

“We have achieved gold medals in many tournaments for both juniors and seniors. We have trained a lot indoors and on the beach over the past two years to get familiar with the new and strange formula of the upcoming tournament,” said head coach Nguyễn Thanh Huy.

“And we still need a big effort to maintain our peak performance in Greece because it is a tournament recognised by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF). It also marks an important milestone for Vietnamese taekwondo, as our team will compete at this year’s Southeast Asian Games in August,” he said.

The Việt Nam team pose for a photo before leaving for the World Taekwondo Beach Championships in Greece. — Photo vothuat.net

The championships set the course for the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) World Beach Games that will be held in San Diego in 2019.

“We are always looking for diversity in our sport, and we see beach taekwondo as a new opportunity to take our athletes out of the arena and into the sunshine,” WTF President Chungwon Choue was quoted as saying on worldtaekwondofederation.net.

“Having inaugurated beach taekwondo championships, we expect taekwondo to go onto the programme of the first World Beach Games in the US in 2019 – offering yet another venue for our athletes to shine,” he said.

Speaking with reporters before leaving for Greece, world poomsae champion Vân said the team were pleased and excited to have the chance to perform at the first world championships on the beach. It would be a chance for her and teammates to catch up with the rest of the taekwondo world.

Vân hoped that she could bring home a gold medal from such a beautiful country.

“There are some difficulties for us. They are new categories organised for the first time and good preparation is needed for rival teams. However we will try our best there. Việt Nam have only 10 athletes but we will complete our target of two gold medals,” said coach Huy. — VNS

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