|Karate kids: Little martial artists perform during the opening ceremony of the International Martial Arts Festival yesterday in Ha Noi — VNA/VNS Photo Quoc Khanh
HA NOI (VNS) — The Viet Nam Traditional Martial Arts Festival – Thang Long Cup – began on Sunday in Ha Noi.
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam beat the drum to open the event.
Addressing at the festival's opening ceremony, Hoang Vinh Giang, chairman of the Viet Nam Traditional Martial Arts Federation, said: "Vietnamese traditional martial arts are one of the country's cultural heritages which existed and developed parallel to the nation's history of fighting against foreign invaders.
The arts not only help people improve their physique and their self-defence techniques, but also cultivate their patriotism, sportsmanship and humanism."
Giang, also the deputy chairman of the Asian Olympic Committee, noted that the festival was the largest international event ever organised in Viet Nam. It seeks to preserve and promote the nation's martial arts to the world, he added.
Vietnamese martial arts have been popularized and developed in many countries throughout the world, as there are about 400 centres in 45 countries around the world offering Vietnamese martial arts training courses, with more than 1 million trainees.
During the Ha Noi event at the My Dinh Indoor Athletics Gymnasium, athletes have taken part in five different categories of performance and combat for both men and women.
The Thang Long Cup brings together competitors from 50 delegations, including the US, Australia, France, Belgium, Germany, and Italy, as well as many domestic clubs from Ha Noi, Binh Dinh, and HCM City.
The festival, which is scheduled to be held biennially, will close on August 13. — VNS