Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – Việt Nam will send seven young golfers, of average age 18, to take part in the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Malaysia.
Four of them will compete in the games for the first time, including Đoàn Xuân Khuê Minh, 14; Nguyễn Hùng Dũng, 16; Hanako Kawasaki, 17; and Nguyễn Phương Toàn, 18. They will compete alongside veterans Trương Chí Quân, 19, Đỗ Lê Gia Đạt, 23, and Nguyễn Thảo My, 19.
These young aces are expected to bring a breath of fresh air to the national team.
Four of the young golfers represent the promising junior golf generation in Việt Nam. Dũng and Toàn have been trained in prestigious golf institutes in the United States (US). Minh is training at the Leadbetter Golf Academy in Hà Nội.
Meanwhile, Hanako, who has both Vietnamese and Japanese antecedents, has not been practising in any academies, but she is the defending champion at the national women’s golf tournament and Việt Nam Junior Open.
Earlier, Vietnamese sports authorities decided to select only golfers under 25 for the national team to compete in the games.
Nguyễn Quốc Hùng, head of golf section in the National Sports Administration, explained: “In the recent years, most winners at the national tournaments were very young. They are trained well abroad. Selecting young golfers is a big investment for Việt Nam golf in the future.”
Hanako has been named in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR). She is the second Vietnamese woman golfer to be named in the WAGR, behind Ngô Bảo Nghi.
“Hanako is one of Việt Nam’s best woman golfers now. At the event in Malaysia, Hanako and My are expected to bring home medals for the women’s team,” said Hùng.
My is not an unknown name in Vietnamese golf. She competed in the SEA Games in Singapore two years ago and won the national women’s events in 2014 and 2015. In the Việt Nam Junior Open (VJO) 2017, My ranked second in women’s Group E.
According to Hùng, besides Hanako and My, Quân is also a medal hope for Việt Nam in the men’s singles.
Quân is a three-time national amateur champion in 2014-16. At the VJO this year, he took the lead in men’s Group E. At the SEA Games two years ago, he ranked 18 out of 34 players in the men’s singles.
In the regional tournament, Thailand are arch rivals. They dominated in all the four categories — women’s and men’s singles and the team event in the previous games. Besides Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines are also strong teams.
“In recent years, thanks to coaching in golf institutes, especially in the US, Vietnamese golfers’ achievements have improved, but there is still a gap in the standards displayed by Vietnamese and regional players. However, we hope that Việt Nam will take a leap in the upcoming games,” Hùng said.
Youngest player of Việt Nam
Minh, 14, is the youngest player in the Việt Nam sport delegation at the upcoming games.
Minh, who has played golf for three years, beat Trần Chiêu Dương, national tournament silver medallist, during the selection to earn a slot to compete in the games.
“I am very happy to take part in the regional event. I will try my best to have the best result at the event,” Minh said.
According to coach Nguyễn Huy Tiến, who discovered Minh’s talent, Minh has good physical strength and skills. If she is invested carefully, she will be a leading player for the country in the future.
To prepare for the games, the Vietnamese players have had an intensive training in Malaysia. Now they are training in HCM City, before leaving for Malaysia on August 19.
The golf event in the games will be held from August 22 to August 24. — VNS