Việt Nam wins first gold medals at SEA Games

May 06, 2023 - 19:25
All three titles went to martial artists, with two in karate and one in vovinam, which is Vietnamese traditional kungfu.

SEA Games

Vietnamese men's kata team score their first SEA Games gold medal on May 6.

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam won gold medals on the first competition day of the 32nd SEA Games in the afternoon of May 6 in Phnom Penh.

All three titles went to martial artists, with two in karate and one in vovinam, which is Vietnamese traditional kungfu.

In karate, the men's kata (performance) team of Lê Hồng Phúc, Phạm Minh Đức and Giang Việt Anh beat Indonesian rivals to take the gold, the first ever for Việt Nam in this event.

It was also the first one presented to a Vietnamese athlete at the regional sports meet.

On May 3, the ouk chaktrang masters ensured their gold with one game in hand in the women's doubles event but they could only receive their gold medal late on May 6 when their event closed.

“We just want to thank our coaches, teammates and fans for training and supporting us," said Phúc with tears in his eyes.

Karate trio on podium with gold medals.

Phúc and his teammates could only earn a bronze medal after losing in the semi-finals, although they were considered title favourite and competed on home ground in the last Games.

“We are happy and proud to wear the national flag standing on the podium and singing the national anthem. It is really a wonderful moment," said Phúc.

He confirmed that the performance of the two finalists were the same in quality and technique, but it was Việt Nam's side that won the judges' hearts to take the gold.

The team was nervous when waiting for the final announcement and they hugged and jumped around together to celebrate the victory when Việt Nam was declared the winner.

“To have a chance to enjoy this moment, we have been working hard and overcame injuries to perform well. We tried our best with high determination. We deserved to win today," Phúc said.

Earlier, Đức came third in the men's individual kata.

Việt Nam women's kata team produced the best performance to maintain the top position.

Minutes later, their teammates Nguyễn Ngọc Trâm, Lưu Thị Thu Uyên and Nguyễn Thị Phương successfully defended their title in the women's kata team event.

They beat Indonesia in the final, which saw a beautiful and technical Vietnamese performance.

"It is regrettable that I could not win a gold in the individual event. I had to gain my spirit back to accompany my teammates in the team event. As a captain, I can't give up," said Phương, who took the individual silver after losing to the Philippines.

"I am really determined, I make it, we make it," she said.

Meanwhile, Trâm shared that while it was her second SEA Games gold and the third for her senior teammates, it still made them as happy and excited as the first one.

“Phương did not defend her gold. It was an unexpected but fair result," said coach Nguyễn Hoàng Ngân, a former world champion. "I was a little worried when we took part in the team event but my athletes did a good job and won the title. I appreciate each individual member for what they have done."

Each team was awarded US$500 as a bonus from the national Karate Federation for their achievement.

Fighters Nguyễn Thị Thu and Trần Văn Vũ were third in the women's 50kg and men's 55kg class respectively. 

Lê Thị Hiền of Việt Nam (right) won the women's 55kg class in vovinam despite her injured knee.

In vovinam, Lê Thị Hiền defended her title in the women's 55kg class.

Despite a swollen knee, Hiền defeated Alisa Panyasyli of Laos in the final at the Chroy Changvar International Conference Centre.

Teammate Nguyễn Việt Hà earned a bronze in the men's 65kg after two silvers in the men's individual and team events.

In other activities, Nguyễn Thị Thi finished second in the women's shooting in petanque.

Phạm Thị Bích Liễu bagged a bronze in the Kun Khmer's women's performance.

Ouk chaktrang masters secured a silver and bronze in men's rapid chess and team of four.

Competitors take part in the aquathlon event in Kep Province.

In aquathlon, Việt Nam won a bronze in the team relay, placing behind the Philippines and Indonesia.

Trương Thảo My of Việt Nam (left) seen in the basketball match against Thailand. 

In 3x3 basketball, the Vietnamese women's squad advanced to the semi-finals after three wins in the qualification stage.

In volleyball, the men's team beat Malaysia 25-18, 25-20, 25-23 to qualify for the last-four round. VNS