|Year to remember: The U19 football team had a successful 2013. Their achievements are in the top 10 highlights of the year. — File Photo
1. The national under-19 football team made a strong impression after winning a ticket to play in the finals of the Asian championships in Myanmar later this year.
Their 5-1 victory over powerhouse Australia in the ASEAN championships on October 7 marked a milestone for Viet Nam football history. Asia in general and Australia in particular were stunned with the Vietnamese perfect performance.
2. The International Grandmaster Le Quang Liem triumphed at the World Blitz Chess Championships in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, on June 10.
It is the first time that Viet Nam won at a world championship although the country is home to a number of world junior champions.
3. Badminton ace Nguyen Tien Minh pocketed a bronze medal at the world championships in China in August.
Thirty-six years since the first world tournament Viet Nam emerged among the final top three for the first time.
Minh, world No 10, not only ended Viet Nam's medal drought but also set a record at the event. His quarter-final match against world No 9 Jan Jorgensen saw the longest rally with 108 shots in nearly two minutes.
4. Nguyen Thi Anh Vien was the first Vietnamese female swimmer to emerge a winner at the Southeast Asian Games.
The 17-year-old athlete triumphed thrice at the 27th Games, setting two new records. She also brought home two silver and one bronze medals.
5. European giant Arsenal made a summer visit to Viet Nam in July.
English Premier League Arsenal arrived in the country on July 16-17, attracting thousands of football fans nationwide who converged on the capital city. A record 25,000 fans came to see them training while the national My Dinh Stadium was full to capacity with 40,000 spectators watching Viet Nam Vs Arsenal friendly, one of their Asia Tour activities preparing for their new season.
6. Viet Nam's under-23 team lost at the 27th SEA Games.
The men's football team was the most expected to win at the biennial festival of the region after they received strong support and made successful results through training.
However, coach Hoang Van Phuc and his team failed. Their early exit from the group round was the worst in the national history.
7. Marksman Hoang Xuan Vinh won gold at the World Cup in April in South Korea.
Vinh has collected a number of medals at the Asian tournament and SEA Games. He also ranked fourth at the London Olympics. It is the first time he triumphed at the world level tournament in a category in which he is strong, the 10m air pistol event, having participated many times.
8. Xuan Thanh Sai Gon quit, leaving V-League in a crisis.
After the 20th round, Xuan Thanh managers sent a document to the Viet Nam Football Federation (VFF), announcing their withdrawal from the national premier league.
The club's action was to object to the VFF's decision to subtract their four points because of match fixing allegations.
Their withdrawal created a mess among the rest of the teams who lost their points as all 20 matches of Xuan Thanh were erased. Song Lam Nghe An were the most affected victims as they fell from the top position to the fourth when the league had only one round left.
9. Women football team hope to win ticket to World Cup
Although they failed to defend their SEA Games title, 2013 was a successful year for the female footballers.
In May, they grabbed a ticket to compete at the finals of the Asian Women's Football Championships to be held in Viet Nam in May.
Viet Nam will play in group A, together with Australia, Japan and Jordan. They target to score the third position which is enough for them to enter the play-off round where they will compete with two other third-placed teams for one remaining ticket to Canada's World Cup in 2015.
10. The Viet Nam delegation ranked third at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games and seventh at the Asian Youth Games.
At the fourth Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in South Korea in July, Vietnamese athletes grabbed eight gold, seven silver and 12 bronze medals, ranking at third position behind powerful China and the host, out of 44 participating teams.
One month later, they pocketed five golds, four silvers and two bronzes at China's Asian Youth Games to rank seventh out of 45. — VNS