Wushu artist ready for SEA Games

April 23, 2023 - 08:13
Dương Thúy Vi is confident ahead of the 32nd SEA Games where she has dominated for many years.


Dương Thúy Vi performs in the women's qiangshu event at the 31st SEA Games last May in Hà Nội. Vi will head to Cambodia next month to defend her title. VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI -- Sweat is all pouring from her face and her T-shirt is drenched, but Dương Thúy Vi does not want to rest.

She is trying to fix every small error in her performance to be ready for the 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia next month.

The regional No 1 athlete won two titles in the women's wushu jianshu (straight sword) and qiangshu (spear) at the 31st Games. This year, the host has combined these two events into one, making it more competitive.

"I have never thought I am the number one, even though I earned many gold medals. Whenever stepping in to competition, I just try to give my best performance," says Vi.

She has been practising wushu with little rest for nearly 23 years since 7 years old, and has been the national top athlete in the martial art for many years.

Vi has not only dominated the national junior and senior competitions, but also made her mark internationally. Under her belt is a huge collection of medals.

She has six SEA Games golds, one Asian Games gold, two world championship golds along with many silvers and bronzes. In her latest event at the 2022 World Games, she again topped the podium.

Dương Thúy Vi performs in the women's jianshu event at the 31st SEA Games last May in Hà Nội. She is confident despite challenges at the coming Games in Cambodia. — VNA/VNS Photo

"Everything will be wrapped up in 90 seconds. It is very fast, so I must be really focused to show my ability. My goal in every tournament is to complete without a minus point," says Vi.

"Pressure is in every tournament, low or high. It is on managers, coaches and athletes. Stepping on the mat, you are not number one. You have to start over because none cares about your previous medals."

Vi says this is the reason she has practised the same wushu moves for more than 20 years and never tires of them.

"Hard working in sport is a must. Just three days resting, and you will find your fitness going down. Sport is fierce. When people keep moving, a break will leave you behind, and you are then the loser."

Asked about her rivals at the coming Games, Vi says apart from familiar faces, there are several young athletes.

"We all know each other because we have competed in regional, continental and world events for years," she says.

"Thanks to the development of social networks, I can watch my rivals' progress when they upload their performances to Facebook and Instagram. Many countries have rejuvenated their teams and they look really good."

However, the two-time world champion does not worry about the new competition format or the progress of her rivals.

Dương Thúy Vi performs in the women's qiangshu event at the 31st SEA Games last May in Hà Nội. She has twice won world championships in this event. — VNA/VNS Photo

"The combining of two events into one is difficult for both me and the other athletes, so it is no problem," says Vi, who will be 30 on May 11.

"In fact, it will be an advantage for me because of the Hangzhou Asian Games in September when this combined event will be held. So, the SEA Games will be a good test where I can review and fix my mistakes. I am in much better condition in fitness and technique, and my performance is more stable than in the 31st Games."

Talking about her disciple, coach Nguyễn Phương Lan says: "Vi is a 'rare' athlete of wushu. She seems born to be a martial artist with incredible flexibility, receptive thinking, and beautiful movements. All qualities she has trained to the highest level."

"She never feels pleased with herself, but continually tries to achieve perfection in her performance. Vi clearly stands out among other martial artists with her will, determination and passion."

With more than 20 years of practice, Vi is one of the most experienced athletes and she finds new ways to develop.

"The more I practise, the stronger I love the martial art, although I have tasted both victories and defeats. Wushu is my passion and I still can reach a higher level," Vi says.

"Wushu teaches me valuable lessons in life. I was an aggressive person and fond of surpassing others before. If I couldn't win, I would lose my temper. I am now not afraid to lose. In sport and life, winning or losing is normal.

Dương Thúy Vi on the podium for gold medal at the 31st SEA Games last May in Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo

"I have learned that life has its ups and downs. I need to calm down to face difficulties and solve them. If this way is not the right way, I will find another way." VNS