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Professional team debut in Hai Duong

Update: May, 12/2009 - 00:00

Professional team debut in Hai Duong


HAI DUONG — Volleyball has become a strong sport in Hai Duong Province over the past two decades along with table tennis, athletics, shooting and canoeing.

But volleyball was the first sport to enter the professional realm.

A co-operative venture between the provincial sports administration and the Machine Installation Corporation (Lilama) invested VND500 million (US$28,000) in cash to sponsor the women’s volleyball team beginning this year.

The sum increased the player’s income, giving them each VND1.5 million ($84) from the provincial budget on top of the rest of their salary.

"The new sponsorship will give us a boost for tournaments in the coming years. Our future employment is also assured after we retire from the sport by the business," said team captain Nguyen Thi Lo.

"We’re trying to raise ourselves to one of the top 10 volleyball teams in the annual rankings. Last year, the team ranked fifth among the 12 best teams in the premier league," the captain added.

The 28-year-old says she will get a job in business when she leaves the sport in a few years.

"As usual, sportswomen must retire after they turn 30 and it can be difficult to find a job after sport. For now, we enjoy taking the time to play all out on the court," Lo said, adding that the team have a long way to go before becoming a power house like Thai Binh, Long An or defending champions Military Signal Corps.

The new sponsorship also helped the team strengthen their squad by recruiting key Thai player Patcharee Sangmuang and coach Parakan Kumsadug last year.

"We have improved our play with a new attacker and a new coach. They updated our competitiveness," said assistant coach Nguyen Cong Huy.

"Two of our team members, Pham Thi Thu Trang and Luu Thi Hao, have been selected to play for the national team. New young players have lifted our squad, including Do Thi Xoan, Nguyen Thi Quyen and Nguyen Thi Thuy, who have just finished a five-year training course at the youth centre," Huy added.

Sponsorship boost

The recent success of volleyball has attracted businesses to invest in other sports, including table tennis and canoeing.

"Early last year, state-owned company Hoang Thach Cement poured VND400 million ($22,000) into a table tennis team, while a canoeing team received VND100 million ($5,500) in cash," said sport administration official Vu Dinh Thinh.

"Businesses started sponsoring sports as an effective advertising tool in response to the strong showing of table tennis and volleyball in the province. Our players earn a cash bonus with every win to supplement their income," Thinh explained.

Hai Duong is preparing for the second stage of the National All-Stars Championship in HCM City and Binh Duong in September. — VNS

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