Archer Nguyễn Văn Đầy.(right) and his teammate Lê Phương Thảo compete to win silver at the 2020 Asian Cup in March in Thailand. — Photo worldarchery.org
HÀ NỘI — In theory, everything is easy.
In theory, the object of archery is to shoot arrows as close to the centre of a target as possible.
In fact, it is not that simple.
“It is not just standing up, holding a bow and shooting,” said 2020 Asian Cup winner Nguyễn Văn Đầy.
“The sport requires high concentration, physique, endurance and patience. And the most basic part is that the athlete must control their emotions. A calm mind makes things better in archery,” said Đầy, who is stuck at the National Sports Training Centre in Hà Nội due to the coronavirus.
Born in 1996 in Long Hồ Dictrict, Vĩnh Long Province, Đầy became an archer by chance.
The eighth-grade student heard about an archery class that was recruiting from his school. The curious boy wanted to find out more about the sport that he had seen on TV and in movies.
“My friends registered to test their skills and I also wanted a shot. After several trials, I was finally selected,” recalled Đầy.
Coach Hồ Thanh Sang at that time saw that Đầy had the potential to be an archer thanks to his large physique and focused eyes.
The 13-year-old was picked to train at the provincial sports centre, and that's where his life as an archer started.
“It was really difficult to start with. There were sad moments because I was living far from my family, but there were fun time too with my teammates,” said Đầy.
“The coaches became our ‘parents’ who took care of our living and training regimes. They got to know me and always encouraged me to follow my career.”
“The more he trained, the more he fell in love with archery, and we saw his determination to conquer the sport,” said coach Đỗ Văn Duy of Vĩnh Long.
“Unlike what most people see, archery is a sport that requires athletes to train outdoors. They have to stand, aim and shoot in the heat of summer and cold of winter.
“And it is not just for a few minutes. They spend hours shooting with a bow that weighs over 10kg. It really takes energy and the athletes must be physically strong.
“Đầy has never cared about these difficulties. He works hard and always tries his best.”
A year after he started training, Đầy collected his first medals from the national championships for juniors.
“I don’t know how many medals I have won but it must be hundreds. I have won at least 20 per year and the maximum is 30, depending on the number of tournaments I take part in.
“In the last three years, I have grabbed 10 international medals. And the most impressive is the men’s individual compound silver at the Asian Archery Championships in Thailand last November,” he said.
It was not gold but silver was enough to help Đầy make national history as it was the first ever time Việt Nam had won a medal at a continental championship.
On the final, Đầy competed against Shanghai World Cup winner Choi Yong Hee of South Korea.
Despite his lower level in the competition, Đầy was neck and neck with Choi who only claimed the title in the last round, winning 145-141.
After that milestone, Đầy was a medal hope for Việt Nam at the 30th Southeast Asian Games last December in the Philippines. He went on to win two silvers in the men’s team and mixed team events and set a national record.
The 24-year-old added one gold and one silver to his collection at the Asian Cup last month in Bangkok, Thailand.
Đầy and his teammate Lê Phương Thảo finished second in the mixed team event, losing to Russia's Anton Bulaev and Natalia Avdeeva.
In a team with Thạch Phi Hùng and Trịnh Văn Đức, he beat Kazakhstan in the men’s team final to take gold.
Nguyễn Văn Đầy (left) wins a historic continental silver for Việt Nam at the Asian Championship in 2019 in Thailand. — Photo vtv.vn
“Đầy has made strong progress since his first day at the national team. He has patience and knows how to keep his mind free which is important to overcome challenges,” said national team coach Cáp Mạnh Tân.
“He is calm in all situations and never gives up until the last arrow. A lot more is expected from him in the coming years.”
However, things have been delayed due to COVID-19.
Like many other athletes, Đầy is locked behind doors at the National Sports Training Centre to ensure their safety.
“The spread of the pandemic has affected our plans. Competitions are being postponed and even our training schedules have been interrupted. It is so hard,” said Đầy.
“I hope that it will be over quickly and we will be back in action soon. I will work harder to perfect my technique and be ready for the coming challenges,” he added. — VNS