Success stems from hard work

Monday, 2014-02-03 00:20:00
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Nguyen Thi Anh Vien
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Nhan Dan Online – The 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games concluded recently in Myanmar, wrapping up an up-and-down year for Vietnamese sport. Vietnamese sport fans experienced different tones of emotions, from sorrow to joy. Let’s take a quick look back at some exemplary athletes who made unceasing efforts to bring home glory from the region’s biggest sporting event.

‘Little mermaid’ Nguyen Thi Anh Vien

Seventeen-year-old Nguyen Thi Anh Vien has become widely known for the miracles she has created for Vietnamese sport as a whole and for the national swimming team in particular. 2013 was a memorable year for Anh Vien, as she became the first female Vietnamese swimmer to seize a SEA Games gold medal and break two records at the region’s most prestigious sports festival in the process.

However, Anh Vien was not really content with those achievements as she had recorded better times in her training shifts. Not only was Anh Vien strict with herself, but national swimming team coach Dang Anh Tuan did not seem to be satisfied with Vien’s performances at the Games either.

The way to glory is always full of obstacles. To add to her innate talent, Anh Vien had to undergo long days of hard work in the United States. In addition to training exercises meant to increase strength and expertise, the serious nutrition regimen brought Anh Vien to tears several times. Vien was forced to eat a kilogramme of beef, 50 prawns, a large dish of noodles and a dish of mixed vegetables at each meal. She also had to drink two litres of milk per day and various kinds of fruit juices. For Anh Vien, mealtimes ceased to be enjoyable and were instead just another form of exercise that must be finished.

Anh Vien watched the Lunar New Year (Tet) Festival on television during her two years of overseas training courses. Despite this and other hardships, her efforts paid off with memorable achievements at last year’s 27th SEA Games. We Vietnamese sports fans are all looking forward to seeing more accomplishments from Vien in the near future.

Shooter Nguyen Thanh Dat

The new SEA Games champion was training in the Republic of Korea when his daughter was born. At the moment Dat finished atop the men’s 50m rifle discipline, taking the first gold medal for the Vietnamese shooting squad, he shared that his only wish was to fly back to his hometown in Thanh Hoa province to meet his beloved daughter.

Nguyen Thanh Dat has had a great affection for shooting since early childhood. He always shocked his neighbours with his special aptitude for the sport. Recognising her son’s passion, Dat’s mother registered him to pursue shooting at the Thanh Hoa sports school in 1998. In the early days of his training, Dat had to practise running and weightlifting to improve his physical strength; he also learned then to monitor his heartbeat to control the gun. Just a year later, Dat succeeded in controlling the gun and was selected to the national shooting team in the following 11 years.

Dat did not have many opportunities to show off his ability in the national team, however, as the coaching staff had to prioritise other renowned shooters. Eventually, his chance arrived as marksman Vu Thanh Hung retired from the national squad. Dat did not let coach Phan Anh Dung and the squad’s South Korean experts down at the recent 27th SEA Games, opening Vietnam shooting’s ‘gold storm’ with the men’s 50m rifle title.

Seeing Dat’s radiant face in the moment of victory, few people knew that the path to the first gold medal of Vietnamese shooting at the 27th SEA Games was full of hardship and silent sacrifice. We do hope that Thanh Dat will achieve still greater success in the time to come.

Wushu artist Duong Thuy Vi

Maybe Duong Thuy Vi is the most jubilant response to questions about the female Wushu Taolu team’s ‘vacancies’ posed by the recent retirements of veteran female Wushu artists. The 20-year-old won the first gold medal for the Vietnam sports contingent at the 27th SEA Games in her third SEA Games participation.

Thuy Vi walked away from the 26th SEA Games in Indonesia two years ago with a lone bronze medal, an achievement which was not so impressive to others but was a big boost for Thuy Vi herself, as it marked her big progress in comparison to her SEA Games debut in 2009. Vy’s tireless efforts have been rewarded with a collection of nearly 60 medals including gold medals won at the 27th SEA Games, world youth competitions, Asian youth competitions, Asian Indoor Games, national youth tournaments and world martial arts festivals.

Thuy Vy got into Wushu a bit by accident. When she was eight years old, a trainer who was teaching Wushu to Vy’s cousin recognised her special aptitude for the sport. He gave Vy a small test which made her innate Wushu talent evident. Months of training helped Vy become sturdier and formed a courageous spirit inside her. Despite her diminutive appearance, Vy is fiercely independent and very strong. However, Vy also felt discouraged sometimes by the injuries that occurr while practising Wushu. Her worst injury occurred during the world youth competition in Indonesia six years ago when she dislocated her ankle in the middle of her performance. Despite the intense pain, Vy managed to finish her competition before being taken off by doctors and teammates.

Vy has the simple dream to become a Wushu trainer in the future. We wish her good health and much more success in the new year.

Swimmer Lam Quang Nhat

Although he was not well known prior to the 27th SEA Games, 16-year-old swimmer Lam Quang Nhat shocked everyone by finishing first in the men’s 1,500m freestyle event. Nhat’s supreme finish in such a difficult discipline was really beyond all expectations, as Vietnamese athletes generally succeed more in short and medium distance races at the SEA Games. “I was under no pressure for achievements in this swimming distance. I just did my utmost to finish the contest as well as I could”, Nhat explained after grabbing the championship title.

The year 2013 closed like a fairy tale for Lam Quang Nhat as he created many ‘firsts’ for the national team. Not only was Nhat Vietnam’s first 16-year-old athlete to swim the 1,500m race, but he was also the first Ho Chi Minh City-born swimmer to win a SEA Games gold medal. As the youngest Vietnamese swimmer to be crowned at a SEA Games competition, Quang Nhat expressed his determination to continue focusing his training on long-distance disciplines in the future. Let’s us hope that Quang Nhat will also receive proper sponsorship in the coming time to follow his elder teammates Hoang Quy Phuoc and Nguyen Thi Anh Vien to become a mainstay of Vietnamese swimming in the near future.