Making news

Karate fighters to warm-up for SEA Games at regional tournament

Karate fighters to warm-up for SEA Games at regional tournament The national karate team will take part in the Southeast Asian championship, a key warm-up tournament to prepare for the Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam in May.

A team of 19 athletes will compete in the event from March 21 to 27 at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Seven other countries, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia, will be represented in the tournament, along with the hosts.

Vath Chamroeun, secretary-general of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC), said it will be one of the major pre-SEA Games events.

The championship will be the biggest and the first international karate-related event in the Kingdom for a number of years.

Vu Son Ha, head of the Karate Department of the Vietnam Sports Administration, said: “Our strongest athletes will compete at the regional competition in Cambodia this month. It will be our final test prior to the 31st Games. The participants are our SEA Games title favourites.”

Among them are defending champion Nguyen Thanh Duy, silver medallists Do Thanh Nhan and Dinh Thi Huong, and bronze medal holders Nguyen Thi Phuong, Dang Hong Son, Ho Thi Thu Hien and Trang Cam Lanh, and former Karate1-Premier League champion Nguyen Thi Ngoan.

Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the team from taking part in intensive training and quality competitions.

The team missed chance to win a place at the Tokyo Olympics as they could not find a flight to compete at any of the qualification rounds.

However, at the Asian championship last December in Kazakhstan, Hoang Thi My Tam won a record three golds for Vietnam.

The 18-year-old fighter is tipped to get top results in future tournaments including the SEA Games.

 “All teams will prepare very well in this regional championship. My athletes are asked to train hard and strictly follow the coaching board’s tactics,” Ha said.

Local coaches take lead

Local coaches are understood to play a major role for the national team at the Hanoi Games this summer.

Le Tung Duong will be head coach. He will be assisted by Duong Hoang Long and Nguyen Van Su in kumite (combat) and Le Tien Nguyen and Nguyen Hoang Ngan in kata (performance).

“Vietnamese coaches are doing good job," Ha said.

"We will improve the quality of our team through international training courses and competitions. Athletes will sharpen their skills through really competitive combat where they have chances to approach new karate techniques."

He said that three gold medals from the recent Asian championship made karate officials believe in the ability of local coaches. These results were much better than the period that foreign coaches came to train the team some years ago.

“We believe that the current coaches will continue helping Vietnam karate to get good results at the SEA Games,” Ha said.

Head coach Duong also confirmed that his fighters are in high alert ahead of the SEA Games. All are confident and can’t wait to fight at the Games although they are warned to face with strong and experienced rivals.

“Due to the lack of competition so we can’t evaluate arch-rivals such as Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. It will be biggest challenge to both coaches and athletes of Vietnam,” Duong said.

“Therefore, we have to train and compete with 100 percent focus to make sure we achieve the best possible results.”

Karate competition will be held in Ninh Binh province from May 16-20. There will have 15 events including seven for men and eight for women.

Vietnam aims to win between four and five gold medals which will make them top-three team on home soil competition. It would be twice as many as they won in the Philippines three years ago.

In Manila in 2019, Vietnamese athletes pocketed two golds, three silvers and six bronzes./.