|Rising star: Nguyen Thi Bich Tram claims her trophy for the Viet Nam national shuttlecock team. — Photo vietbao.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — Nguyen Thi Bich Tram, 18, is a young talent of the Viet Nam national shuttlecock team.
She helped Viet Nam defend their title at the recent World Shuttlecock Championship held in Italy which attracted athletes from 12 countries and territories around the world.
The precious gold medal in the women's trio category, with Tram playing an important role, helped Viet Nam defend their title with a total of four golds medals and three silvers. Once again, Viet Nam overcame China (three golds and four silvers) to take the lead.
"Tram has good fitness and has the ability of dealing with situations briskly. She is very good at blocking the shuttlecock at the net and attacking. So the training board decided to let her play in the official formation in the world events. I am very happy that she played very well," said coach Nguyen Tiet Cuong.
At present, the national team has six male and six female players with an average age of 22 to 23. Tram is the youngest player on the team.
"Although she is the youngest, she will be one of the key players of the national team in the future," Cuong added.
Shuttlecock has been Tram's passion since she was a pupil. She often played shuttlecock at the breaks with the admiration of her teammates.
Her talent was discovered by her gymnastics coach who encouraged her to register at the Sports Gift School in the southern province of Dong Thap to become a professional athlete.
After three years of training, Tram won her first gold medal in the mixed doubles with her teammate Vo Le Dinh Van at the Phu Dong Sport Festival in 2008.
"My gold medal in 2008 was a driving force for me to play better in my career. I trained very hard, I wasn't afraid of sweating and suffering injuries while training," said Tram.
Tram said she was lucky enough to be born in the nation's leading location in terms of shuttlecock, Dong Thap Province. Along with her innate talent, she received support from her teammates who played for both Dong Thap and the national team.
Tram was called to the national team in 2013 at the very young age of 16 to prepare for the 2013 World Shuttlecock Championships held in Viet Nam.
Tram said she didn't hope to shine at the event. She only wished the event would give her a chance to gain experience and hone her skills because it was her first big tournament.
But in the women's trio event, she played as a real veteran. With a very outstanding performance, 1.71m tall girl made more than 4,000 spectators in Dong Thap Gymnasium admire her with thunderous applause. Viet Nam defeated China to triumph at the 2013 world event.
Tram said this year was a challenging year for her as she had to have an operation on her knee and race with time to recover her strength for the world championships in Italy. Furthermore, she both trained and learned hard to prepare for her high-school finals.
When asked about her unique name, Tram said "my parents thought that Tram (hundred) was a nice name so they named me that. This name brings me luck. In the future, I wish I will collect a hundred gold medals in both domestic and international events like my name."
At present, shuttlecock is globalising strongly. There are more than 20 countries playing shuttlecock around the world. It is expected to be played at the 2019 Asian Games and become an Olympic event.
"I hope that shuttlecock will be developed around the world," said Tram. — VNS