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Martial artist Nam shines for Viet Nam at ASIAD

Update: October, 14/2018 - 07:00
Powerful kick: Trần Đình Nam (left) seen at a recent international event. — Photo courtesy of Trần Đình Nam
Viet Nam News

Pencak silat was played at the Asian Games (ASIAD) for the first time ever in 2018. Vietnamese martial artist Trần Đình Nam, 26, brought home a gold medal. He met Khalid Mohd Rauzi from Malaysia, who beat Nam in the finals of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games last year, again in the men’s tanding under-75kg final. This time, nothing prevented Nam from taking the gold. Thanh Nga talks to Nam.

Inner Sanctum: You have won the Asian Games gold medal. This result helped Việt Nam break the domination of the hosts Indonesia in pencak silat. Việt Nam is also the only country, besides Indonesia, to take a gold medal in pencak silat. Are you still happy with this result?

Yes, it is my noble medal so I am really still happy. I had achieved the target of pencak silat as a sport as well as met my goal.

Inner Sanctum: Did you have any special tactics to compete with Khalid Mohd Rauzi, who defeated you in the SEA Games last year, in the final of this year’s ASIAD?

When I knew that I would meet my old rival in the ASIAD final. I told my coach that I would definitely win and I competed with all my heart to beat him.

Last year, I lost to Rauzi because I underestimated him. I had beaten him twice. So I underestimated his abilities. In this year’s ASIAD, I prepared more carefully and I respected all my rivals.

Inner Sanctum: You look rather strong. Maybe with this figure, your rivals will be scared of you?

I don’t know any more but when competing, I am always confident and have a good mindset, so my rivals are often beware of me.

Inner Sanctum: When did you fall in love with pencak silat?

I love sport very much, especially volleyball. I asked to play on the volleyball team of the northern province of Hải Dương where I was born when I was a student of Hồng Đức Senior High School but I was refused. After that, I was introduced to training in pencak silat because of my good body and physical strength.

I didn’t know much about pencak silat but it was a sport so I tried it. Then I gradually loved it and have gained many international achievements.

Inner Sanctum: What are your achievements so far?

I won a gold medal in the World Pencak Silat Championship in 2014. At the SEA Games 2015, I brought home a silver medal. The year 2016 saw my best results with one world gold medal, one Asian gold medal and two Việt Nam national gold medals. Last year, I also bagged a silver medal at SEA Games in Malaysia and one gold medal in the Asian Pencak Silat Championship.

And this year, as you know, I took a gold in ASIAD.

Eye of the tiger: Trần Đình Nam. — Photo

Inner Sanctum: Are there any people in your family pursuing martial arts?

No, only me.

Inner Sanctum: Can you tell me about the process that led you to be chosen into the national team?

I was called to the national team in 2012 after taking gold medals in national tournaments. But I sustained an ankle injury during the competition so I asked to return home to recover.

In 2013, I took a gold medal in the national championship and was named again to the national team in 2014. There I competed in the first international event, World Pencak Silat Championship and triumphed.

Inner Sanctum: What are things, if any, that make you nervous in competition?

I think they are psychology and referees. I have competed in many tournaments. When the referee favours my rival, of course, I receive a loss. But when the referee manages well, I play comfortably with confidence and easily take a win.

Inner Sanctum: What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages in your career?

The greatest difficulty I experienced was that I took more than one year to treat an ankle injury in 2013. At that time, I intended to retire from competition but my coaches and family urged me to continue training.

I thank my coaches very much for supporting me in terms of living conditions and training to help me have a comfortable mindset to compete.

Inner Sanctum: Is it hard to train in pencak silat?

Yes. I think it is difficult because many athletes struggle to gain results when they move to play pencak silat from other sports. I know it is true because I witnessed many cases.

Inner Sanctum: What’s your training schedule every day?

I wake up at 5.30am to take exercise and then train. I also spend two hours training every afternoon. If an event is coming, I will also train in the evening.

Inner Sanctum: What’s next for you?

I will compete in the National Sports Games in November and the World Pencak Silat Championship in December. I hope I will gain the best results.

Inner Sanctum: I know that you have a little boy. Is he proud that you are a martial artist?

My boy is only three years old. He is late in speaking so I don’t know whether he likes my work or not. If he grows and I find that he has good characters, I will let him follow my career. — VNS


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