Karate artist Le Bich Phuong, a seed of hope

Friday, 2010-12-03 11:43:00
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Nhan Dan - The gold medal the Vietnamese sports delegation was longing for at the ASIAD 16 was secured by karate artist Le Thi Bich Phuong. Still very young, at the age of 18, Phuong is considered a seed of hope for better results in Vietnam karate in the future.

Even coach Le Cong, who always believed in Bich Phuong, was astonished by his student's amazing progress.

'Phuong is a young athlete and doesn't have much experience. However, she is always one of my first choices. She is clever, confident, responsible and knows how to control her match,' he said.

Not much was expected of the 18 year-old girl before the event, where she also made her debut. Because of the fierce competition at this biggest regional sports event, even the top Vietnamese athletes, including Nguyet Anh, could not defend their gold medals.

However, Le Bich Phuong is one who defies expectations. She gradually proved herself at ASIAD 16 after repeatedly overcoming strong opponents in her journey to the final of the women's 55kg event. In the 1/8 round, Bich Phuong left Ann Tea Eun of the Republic of Korea no chance to score and crushed her opponent 4-0. She continued to give impressive performances and defeated rivals from Uzbekistan and Macau (China) in the quarter- and semi-finals. Finally, the girl who just started practicing karate five years ago and has been a member of the national squad for only a year, produced a miracle as she beat defending world champion Kobayashi Miki from Japan in the final match to secure the first gold for Vietnam at this Asian Games.

Despite being led in the beginning by the defending world champion, Bich Phuong still kept her calm and confidence. She then fought back to draw 1-1 before scoring three points to make it 4-1. The Japanese artist gained two more points, narrowing the gap 4-3, however, Bich Phuong's excellent defense helped her maintain that score until the end of the match.

When the flag was raised to end the final, defending world champion Kobayashi collapsed in frustration while tears of happiness rolled down the cheeks of the new Asian champion. 'Before the event, my target was only a bronze medal, I really did not expect to earn gold here', said Phuong. As for coach Le Cong, he was elated that the karate squad was able to meet the expectations of the Vietnamese fans. When hearing of this good news, former national karate artist Nguyen Tuan Cuong, who discovered this 'diamond in the rough' said, 'She is the most exceptional champion in Vietnamese karate, and even in the world!'

Le Bich Phuong has grown in her sport very fast. Two years ago she was only an amateur athlete who practiced karatedo to improve her health. Now she has become the champion of the Asian Games and absolutely deserves to take her place among all the senior artists who have ever been crowned champion in this arena including Kim Anh, Bao Ngoc, Nguyet Anh and Hai Yen. Thanks to her spirit, confidence and desire tor win, Vietnam's thirst for gold at ASIAD 16 was quenched.

Surely, Le Bich Phuong will go further. If she could win this time when she competed under no psychological pressure, then there is no reason for her to lose confidence for taking on such strong competitors in the future.