Sports tournaments return under the new-normal

November 09, 2021 - 09:48
Sports tournaments are back! But only under the toughest regulations to ensure safety and to control the spread of COVID-19.


Athletes compete at the group stage of the National Volleyball Division A Championship. The finals will be held next week, as sports return after months of delay. —  Photo

Thanh Hà

HÀ NỘI — Sports tournaments are back! But only under the toughest regulations to ensure safety and to control the spread of COVID-19. All participants in tournaments, from athletes to organisers and staff, will be under the same constraints.

Everyone must either be vaccinated at least 14 days before taking part in the tournament, be able to show a negative PCR result certificate from no more than 72 hours before the event, or prove they have recovered from the virus in the past six months. 

All will be asked to make health declarations, comply with the 5K message and will be tested every three days during tournaments.

The Việt Nam Sports Administration (VSA) has also issued regulations on transfers and contact limits between three different groups of participants. 

The organisers at the host destination must prepare infrastructure and facilities for the tournaments. They need to have a plan not only for the competition but also logistics, including hotels, transportation, routes from hotels to competition places, training zones and instructions for safety.

Doctors take a sample from an athlete during the Việt Nam Basketball Association Premier Bubble Games tournament in Nha Trang. — Photo of VBA

This is the first time in modern history that sports organisers must follow such unique regulations. While unusual, these measures will allow tournaments that have been postponed for many months to finally resume. 

The return of elite sports is thanks to the Government’s Resolution 128/NQ-CP. The resolution introduced regulations for safe, flexible adaptation to and effective control of COVID-19, to bring the entire country into the new normal.

VSA has worked out a schedule to organise tournaments for sports, especially those are to be played at the coming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

The championships will be a good chance for Vietnamese athletes to restart training regimes and sharpen their skills for other big competitions in 2022.

"VSA is allowed to hold several pilot tournaments, following the bubble model, in cities and provinces that have little or no COVID-19 cases," said Trần Đức Phấn, deputy director of VSA.

"The organisation of tournaments requires close cooperation between different agencies that are responsible for healthcare, disease control and the localities' authorities."

"We can't wait until the pandemic is over. In this situation, the priority is athletes' and coaches' safety, and then the quality of competition. The results of pilot events will help to better organise later competitions, as well as the SEA Games in 2022," said Phấn.

Currently, only football and basketball events are permitted to play, though not domestic national championships. For football, it is the 2022 World Cup's third qualification round, while it is the VBA Premier Bubble Games for basketball.

"Domestic tournaments are a good way to help athletes get back that competition feeling, after months of training. They will get excited and sharpen their skills ahead of the local championships and international tournaments that are approaching," said Vũ Xuân Thành, Vice President of Việt Nam Taekwondo Federation.

Following VSA's plan, three national badminton tournaments will be held in November and December, as well as two volleyball events. The National Track and Field Championship will be held in early December at the Mỹ Đình Stadium in Hà Nội.

"More than 80 per cent of championships this year have not been held. We hope to hold as many as possible in the last two months, based on the Government’s Resolution 128/NQ-CP.

"It is a huge volume of work, but it is most important to assess athletes' performance after a long period of interruption and sluggishness. It will allow us to select Vietnamese representatives for international events in 2022," he said.

SEA Games 100m champion Lê Tú Chinh kept training at the National Sports Training No. 2 gym through the months of social distancing. 

SEA Games champion Lê Tú Chinh training hard during social distancing. She will compete at the coming National Tracks and Field Championship in Hà Nội. — Photo

Chinh has recently been allowed to get back to the track and trained hard for December's national championships.

"I have not competed in an official tournament for more than six months. But I still set a target of winning golds at the domestic tournament and will defend my number one place in the women's 100m event in the 31st SEA Games," said Chinh.

The 24-year-old runner also wants to set new national and personal records at these events.

Asian champion Quách Thị Lan said she has been informed of the competition schedule and will practise hard for the best result.

Apart from the national championships, Lan and her national 400m team will also compete for Việt Nam at the Asian Indoor Athletics Championship next February, the Hà Nội's SEA Games in May and the Asian Games in September.

The 'new-normal' of Vietnamese sport means athletes will have more chances to take part in international tournaments.

The national swimming team are in an intensive training course in Bulgaria while the badminton squad will compete in the world championship in Spain next month.

Olympian Nguyễn Thùy Linh told Việt Nam News that she is excited for the tournament. It is as big and difficult as the Olympics but she hopes for more positive results after her remarkable performance in Tokyo Olympics in July.

Đặng Thị Huyền (right) beat Lagounari Georgia of Greece to win Việt Nam's first world gold at the world jiu-jitsu championship in the UAE on October 3. — Photo of JJIF

Last week, Việt Nam won a first world championship title of the year, thanks to martial artist Đặng Thị Huyền. She defeated Lagounari Georgia of Greece in the Jiu-jitsu's U48kg Fighting Category for the U21 age group in the UAE. — VNS