Vietnam’s Top 10 sporting events in 2016

Saturday, 2016-12-31 04:55:43
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Vietnam's Olympic hero Hoang Xuan Vinh
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NDO – 2016 witnessed a series of sparkling milestones marked in the history of Vietnamese sports, including the first-ever Olympic and Paralympic gold medals won by shooter Hoang Xuan Vinh and powerlifter Le Van Cong, respectively.

>>> Paralympics 2016: Vietnam wins first-ever gold, breaks world record

>>> Hoang Xuan Vinh makes history for Vietnam with Olympic gold

Nhan Dan Online introduces the top ten sporting events of Vietnam over the past year.

1. Shooter quenches Vietnam’s thirst for Olympic gold

August 7, 2016 was an unforgettable day in the history of Vietnamese sports when shooter Hoang Xuan Vinh brought home the first gold medal from the Olympic arena for the country. In the men’s 10m air pistol finals, Vinh finished in first place and broke the Games record with a score of 202.5 points, 0.4 point higher than that of Brazilian Felipe Almeida Wu. One day later, the military shooter went on to excel in the 50m slow fire pistol finals, scoring an additional silver medal with 191.3 points, just behind Jin Jong Oh from the Republic of Korea with 193.7 points.

2. Powerlifter earns Vietnam’s first Paralympic gold

Following Hoang Xuan Vinh, powerlifter Le Van Cong established another milestone for Vietnamese sports when he struck gold in the men’s 49kg at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, which was Vietnam’s first in a Paralympic competition. The lift of 183kg also helped Cong break both the world and Paralympic records in this category. Cong’s success became a source of inspiration for his fellow Paralympians, driving them on to collect another silver by swimmer Vo Thanh Tung in the men’s 50m freestyle–S5 event and two bronze medals by female powerlifter Dang Thi Linh Phuong in the 50kg weight class and javelin thrower Cao Ngoc Hung in the men’s F57 disability category.

3. U-19 Vietnam qualify for 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup

Vietnam’s U-19 football team have officially booked a place in the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup, scheduled to take place in the Republic of Korea, after making it through to the semifinals of the 2016 AFC U-19 Championship in Bahrain. This is the first time a Vietnamese football squad has been eligible for a world-class competition. Although drawn in a tough group among the presence of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq, U-19 Vietnam competed bravely and persistently to advance into the quarterfinals following an unbeaten run of one win and two draws. In the knockout stage, the Southeast Asian team brilliantly slipped past hosts Bahrain 1-0 to cruise into the semifinals and secured a berth in next year’s World Cup, which was open to the four semifinalists of the continental championship.

4. Vietnam eligible for FIFA Futsal World Cup

Vietnam won the penalty shootout against Japan in the quarterfinals of the 2016 AFC Futsal Championship on February 17, thereby booking a slot in the semifinals and securing an official ticket to the 2016 Futsal World Cup, which was handed over to the four semifinalists and the winner of playoff matches among the four losers of the quarterfinals. At the World Cup in Colombia seven months later, Spanish coach Bruno Garcia’s players continued to excel beyond expectations advancing to the quarterfinals before having their fairytale run ended by title favourites Russia in the knockout stage.

5. Vietnam tops ABG 5 medal tally

Vietnam came out on top at the fifth Asian Beach Games 2016 (ABG 5), held in the central coastal city of Da Nang, winning a total of 52 gold, 44 silver and 43 bronze medals, far surpassing runners-up Thailand (36, 24, 30) and third-place takers China (12, 18, 19). Even so, the ABG results are not seen as an accurate measure of sport potential of countries across Asia, as most of them only consider the Games as an opportunity to promote their tourism, landscape and people rather than a real competition in sports.

6. Vietnam bitterly fails at AFF Suzuki Cup 2016

Vietnam (in red) misses out on the AFF Suzuki Cup title for the fourth consecutive tournament.

Vietnam’s dream for the first AFF Suzuki Cup title in eight years has remained incomplete once again after the national football team were disappointingly eliminated from the semifinals in this year’s tournament that concluded in mid-December. Except for an incredible fighting spirit in the second-leg semifinal against Indonesia (coming from behind to lead 2-1 with just ten men on field), the Vietnamese squad failed in terms of both expertise and playing style, becoming the worst-perceived team after the semifinals regarding sportsmanship.

7. Hanoi T&T crowned V-League champions

Hanoi T&T claimed the 2016 V-League title with a staff of “homegrown” young players, scoring a total of 50 points after 26 rounds of play. It was a bright spot for the capital’s team in a year marking its ten years of establishment and development.

8. Swimmer Anh Vien, gold medalist and record-breaker at Asian champs

Top Vietnamese swimmer Nguyen Thi Anh Vien picked up a gold medal and set a new record in the women’s 400m individual medley category at the recent 2016 Asian Swimming Championships in Japan, clocking a final time of 4 minutes and 37.71 seconds. The old record was 4 minutes and 41.29 seconds struck by Chinese athlete Liu Jing in Dubai, the UAE in 2002. Vien’s best performance in the event was 4 minutes 13.72 seconds made at the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games).

9. Chess masters strike gold at Asian championships

Grandmaster Le Quang Liem (right) has qualified for the 2017 Chess World Cup.

Vietnam’s chess players completed their campaign at the 2016 Asian Individual Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan with one gold and two silver medals. Despite not being a favourite in the women’s blitz category, Nguyen Thi Mai Hung performed impressively and was crowned champion with 7.5 points. Meanwhile, grandmaster Le Quang Liem secured two silvers ending up in second place in both the men’s standard and blitz chess events. Hung and Liem have both qualified for the 2017 world chess championships, which is open to the Asian women’s champion and the top five performers of the men’s section.

10. Vietnam’s tennis squad make impressive performance at Davis Cup

Despite failing to make the Asia/Oceania Zone Group I after a second-round defeat to Thailand, Vietnam’s tennis squad still had a successful Davis Cup competition. Never before had the national squad gathered such a quality lineup as this year, with young talents Ly Hoang Nam and Nguyen Hoang Thien as key players. Earlier, Vietnamese players cruised to a convincing first-round 3-2 victory against Indonesia, thereby successfully retaining their Group II place in next year’s tournament and gradually bringing Vietnam’s tennis achievements into consistency.