Fencers have been training since January for SEA Games success

February 22, 2023 - 08:47
The team lost their No. 1 position to Singapore at the 29th Games in 2017.


Fencers spar at the Hà Nội Sports Training Centre. The team will compete for the top medal tally at the 32nd SEA Games this May in Cambodia. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese fencers are working hard to regain their top regional position at the 32nd Southeast Asian Games this May in Cambodia.

The team lost their No. 1 position to Singapore at the 29th Games in 2017.

Ten months ago, they did a good job winning five golds, one silver and five bronzes, a better achievement than expected. However, they were still second behind arch-rivals Singapore with one gold less.

This time, they will have to do without home advantage while competing with other nations growing in fencing strength.

A team of veteran players and young talents have been summoned to train for the Phnom Penh competition since early January.

Among them are defending champions Vũ Thành An (men's sabre), Nguyễn Tiến Nhật (men's epee) and Bùi Thị Thu Hà (women's sabre). Their young teammates, such as Tô Đức Anh, Phùng Thị Khánh Linh, Nguyễn Phương Kim and Nguyễn Thị Hồng are expected to follow their seniors in gaining success.

At the Southeast Asian Fencing Championship last month in Malaysia, Vietnamese athletes won eight golds, six silvers and five bronzes to top the medal tally.

The tournament was considered a pre-SEA Games event as all regional powerhouses, Việt Nam, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and the hosts, took part.

"Their achievements are a good sign that they have remained strong after the 31st SEA Games. The female athletes and the men's sabre team put on amazing performances (in Malaysia)," said coach Phạm Anh Tuấn.

Phùng Lê Quang, director of the Fencing Department of the Việt Nam Sports Administration, praised the regional championship's success. Fencers overcame challenges to complete their tasks, and their confidence and bravery were shown in every match.

He said it would be a strong base for the team heading to the Games this spring.

However, he also suggested that Việt Nam couldn't be subjective about this result because evaluating other teams' strengths through the regional championship was difficult and several quality fencers did not compete.

In the last six weeks, fencers have been training hard and participating in internal competitions. According to coach Tuấn, this will help athletes fix their problems and maintain their skills ahead of the Games.

"We have recognised our important task at this SEA Games and at the Asian Games. We have trained hard, even worked extra time, since the beginning of this year to ensure our best for the Games," said Nguyễn Văn Quyết of the sabre team.

His teammate An, who has dominated the regional sports meet across four editions, shared that among tournaments in 2023, the 32nd SEA Games was the most important.

Vũ Thành An is one of the gold medal hopes of Việt Nam at the coming SEA Games. He has won titles at the last four regional sports meets. — VNA/VNS Photo

As a senior in the team, An works to perfect himself and guide his junior teammates.

"We have to improve our skills and research our rivals to have suitable plans. Competing in Cambodia will be more difficult than at home. But my teammates and I have promised that we will do all for a successful tournament," said Khánh Linh, who won a team gold and an individual bronze last May.

Intensive training courses have been scheduled for Linh and her teammates to ensure their readiness for the Games from May 5 to 17. — VNS