Vovinam, a Vietnamese martial art, returns to the SEA Games in style

Vietnamese martial artists competed in the recent National Vovinum Championships.  Vovinam is played in SEA Games 31.  - VNS photo via ANN Giang Le

Vietnamese martial artists competed in the recent National Vovinum Championships. Vovinam is played in SEA Games 31. – VNS photo via ANN Giang Le

The 31st Southeast Asian Games is a historic milestone for Vovinam (Vietnam’s traditional martial arts) to assert itself and show more strength as it is held on home soil.

After a nine-year absence from the SEA Games in 2013, Vovinam is back.

Vovinam made her debut in the 2011 Games in Indonesia with 14 divisions. Four countries competed, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

Vietnam won five gold, seven silver and two bronze medals in the team rankings, while Indonesia was runners-up with five gold, one silver and eight bronze.

At the 27th SEA Games held in Myanmar in 2013, Vovinam was held for the second time with the participation of five countries namely Myanmar, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. In this event, Vietnam is leading with six gold medals.

However, Vovinam was absent in the next three games for various reasons.

At the SEA Games in 2019, the host Philippines initially announced a list of 56 games, including four medals by Vovinam. But it was not possible to do this martial art in those games at the last moment.

The return of Vovinam to the SEA Games is good news for Vietnam’s martial arts – recognition of international friends and its impact on the region. This is an important step for Vietnam to become a sport in Southeast Asia.

Nguyen Binh Din, deputy general secretary of the Vietnam Vovinam Federation, said: “It was a disappointment for Vovinam to be absent from the last three games. This means that the good effects of making Vietnamese martial arts in previous games have been broken, forcing us to start all over again. “

“The journey to bring Vietnamese martial arts to a better position in the region is already difficult, not to mention the Asian Games or world events. However, we are still determined to strengthen Vovinam again, “added Din.

“The return of Vovinam can be seen as a great opportunity to continue the development of Vovinam in Southeast Asia and the world. We hope that Vovinam will continue to be a traditional game in the upcoming games.”

At this year’s SEA Games, Vovinam will have 15 medals: six battle divisions and nine divisions for performance. Vietnamese martial artists aim to win five gold medals.

Vovinam national team of the Philippines.  Photo by Tim Lake / Vovinam Philippines

Vovinam national team of the Philippines. Photo by Tim Lake / Vovinam Philippines

According to Ngo or Hu, the leader of the Vovinam team at the 31st SEA Games, athletes are in good form and interested in spirit and competition.

“We must always ensure the safety of the players so that they do not get injured as the competition draws to a close,” Hui said.

Yamadhiputra I Newman, General Secretary of the Southeast Asian Vovinum Federation and General Secretary of the Indonesian Vovinum Federation, said:

“After many years of ups and downs, especially when it was missing in other game editions, the world, continent and region leaders still maintain the organization of international tournaments. It has played an important role in training and maintaining competition in Asian countries, especially in Southeast Asia. “

Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Laos, Thailand and the host country Vietnam will participate in the Vovinam competition which will be held from 18 to 22 May at the Sok Son Gymnasium.

The 32nd SEA Games will be held in Cambodia in 2023 and is expected to include Vovinam.

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