HÀ NỘI — The ten members and two coaches of Việt Nam’s kurash martial arts team are set to defend their SEA Games title, after an international training schedule aimed at offsetting the impact COVID had on the team over the past few years.
The team will begin their journey on May 10 at the Hoài Đức Sporting Centre, in the suburban Hoài Đức District of Hà Nội.
Việt Nam’s kurash team, who are considered a potential ‘gold mine’ at the regional sports events, will face tough competition at the SEA Games 31 despite being on home turf.
In preparation for the Games, the team gathered for training in HCM City in January before honing their skills at a 20-day training session in Uzbekistan and in a series of tournaments in Tajikistan and Tashkent through March.
The team won silver and three bronzes at the Asia Kurash Championship – the premier competition on the Asian continent – before earning another silver and bronze at the Tajikistan Kurash Open.
The team also took home two golds, one silver and one bronze at the Tashkent Kurash Tournament, as all members of the national team were tested ahead of the Games.
Nguyễn Tuấn Học, head coach of the team said: “The team had good preparation at the training session in Uzbekistan – where all team members faced tough opponents from Asia, gaining valuable experience form for the biggest regional sporting competition – the SEA Games 31.”
“It’s very honour, but there is pressure on all Vietnamese Kurash artists as the SEA Games 31 is on home turf. We will have a big challenge in defending the trophy that we won at the previous SEA Games 30 in the Philippines,” he said.
“Vietnamese artists were tested during the all-out training and competitions during the 20-day training course in Uzbekistan, and we are all ready for the SEA Games 31.”
“The COVID-19 kept us at bay. The pandemic impacted our preparation for the SEA Games 31.
“We had a two-year delay because of the COVID in training and competing.
“However, our athletes now only have eyes on the target of top position in the SEA Games 31.”
Big responsibilities lay on the shoulders of Nguyễn Thị Lan, who will compete in the women’s under-70kg, and Trần Thị Thanh Thuỷ in the women’s over-70kg.
Bùi Minh Quân will lead the men’s division in the under-81kg class, while his teammate Trần Thương is contesting the men’s under-90kg.
Two other top artists, Vũ Ngọc Sơn and Lê Đức Đông, will compete in the men’s under-73kg and under-66kg, respectively.
Some young talents, such as Tô Thị Trang (women’s under-48kg), Nguyễn Thị Tuyết Hân (women’s under-52kg), and Nguyễn Thị Thanh Trâm (women’s under-70kg), could add more golds for Việt Nam.
“Competing on home turf will be an advantage for us in this Games. It encourages us to work harder and defend our golds and Việt Nam’s top place,” said under-70kg class reigning champion Nguyễn Thị Lan.
Kurash will have athletes competing in ten weight classes across men’s and women’s categories at the Hà Nội’s Hoài Đức Gymnasium from May 10-13.
At the previous SEA Games 30 in the Philippines, Việt Nam won seven golds, one silver and two bronzes.
Kurash is a folk wrestling discipline primarily practised in the regions of Central Asia. The objective of the sport is to grab hold of the opponent by the towel around their waist and throw them onto the ground on their back.
The combat sport originated in the territory of Uzbekistan about 3,500 years ago. Modern kurash has been organised internationally since the end of the 1990s.
The SEA Games will open on May 12 and close on May 23.
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