Vietnamese karate dreams of Olympics

Wednesday, 2017-09-27 10:35:10
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Nguyen Thi Ngoan brings home the first world-class gold medal for Vietnamese karate.
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NDO – For the first time ever in their history, the Vietnamese karate team secured a gold medal at the Karate 1-Premier League, the most important league event in the world of karate, thanks to the exceptional performance of 19-year-old Nguyen Thi Ngoan in Halle/Leipzig, Germany. The gold medal is more meaningful now as karate has been officially included in the 2020 Olympics competition programme.

>>> Nguyen Thi Ngoan wins milestone gold medal at world tournament in Germany

>>> Karate athlete Ngoan ranks in world’s top 10

From SEA Games bronze medal to historic world-class gold

Ngoan’s 61kg kumite (combat) gold medal at the K1-Premier League is the first world-class kumite title for Vietnamese karate. The victory came as a big surprise, as a few days earlier the Hanoi fighter only settled for a bronze medal at the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Malaysia.

Sharing her feelings on the historic feat, Ngoan said modestly: “I am happy. It is also a bit of luck”.

“I have learnt a lot from the unexpected failure at the recent 29th SEA Games. If it had not been for the defeat at the SEA Games, I wouldn’t have achieved the world-class gold medal in Germany,” the champion stated.

Ngoan’s trainer Le Tung Duong said that as a young SEA Games debutant, Ngoan inevitably suffered from mental pressure, but at the Karate 1-Premier League, the pressure was removed, and Ngoan performed successfully.

The victory of Nguyen Thi Ngoan is seen as a real “seismic” at the tournament in Halle/Leipzig. On its website, the organising committee applauded the amazing feat attained by the Vietnamese martial artist, who overcame an array of well-known competitors, such as Joane Orbon of the United States, Leila Hertault of France and reigning world champion Alisa Buchinger of Austria, in decisive moments.

Not dwelling on the victory

In the world rankings announced recently by the World Karate Federation (WKF), Nguyen Thi Ngoan has made her way into the top ten female karate artists in the 61kg weight class. It is the highest WKF ranking ever achieved by a Vietnamese karate fighter in the combat category.

According to Vu Son Ha, Head of the Karate Department under the General Department of Sports and Physical Training, Ngoan’s achievement is very encouraging as the Karate 1-Premier League in Germany is among the tournaments to accumulate points for the 2020 Olympic Games, thus bringing together the strongest competitors from around the world.

He added that the gold medal secured by Ngoan has ignited the hopes for Vietnamese karate at the Asian Games (Asiad) and even within the Olympic arena.

“Ngoan is the most promising athlete of Vietnam in the women’s kumite category, thanks to her good physique and relatively high technical expertise qualifications. Her current shortcoming is competition psychology, so she needs to participate in more tournaments in order to improve her competition mentality. As young as she is, Ngoan has been named in the list of athletes for key investment, in preparation for the SEA Games 2017, the Asiad 2018 and the Olympics 2020 qualifying rounds. The immediate goal for Ngoan will be a gold medal at the upcoming Asiad 2018 in Indonesia,” Ha said.

The world gold medal has marked a historic milestone for Vietnamese karate, but as shared by experts in the sport, everyone in the karate department will not “oversleep” on the victory.

Veteran trainer Le Cong could not hide his joy while talking about Ngoan’s miracle: “Ngoan’s kumite gold medal is truly amazing, as the competition is extremely fierce”.

With regards to the future investment direction needed to enable Vietnamese karate to “attack” the Asiad and Olympics arena, Le Cong stated that as for the Olympics playground, it is difficult to predict anything, but there is a premise to believe in Vietnamese karate’s medal outlook.

He emphasised the need to address two issues immediately, including the establishment of the Vietnam Karate Federation to call for sponsorship to finance the karate artists’ overseas training, and the invitation of qualified experts and trainers from around the world to train and improve the capacities of Vietnamese athletes.