Vietnamese sport towards 2017
Vietnamese sport towards 2017: Renew the “old path”
After a fruitful 2016, Vietnamese sport is stepping into the year of 2017 with
an “old and new” problem namely the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
adjustments have been made and are currently underway by the sports sector in
approaching such a “peculiar” regional arena, specifically including a strategic
change in the mindset that breaking into the top three medal winning countries
will no longer be a compulsory target.
As a precursor,
right after the 2017 SEA Games competition programme, including 38 sports and
403 events, was finalised, all delegations, excluding hosts Malaysia, were
shocked by the cutting of half of the events compared to the previous edition in
Many of Vietnam’s
sports of strength, including the two “gold mines” rowing and wrestling, were
removed from the upcoming Games; meanwhile, two other sports of strength,
including fencing and women’s football, along with a number of favourite
disciplines of shooting and athletics were supplemented at the last minute.
As for the
abovementioned reality, it can be said that Vietnam has been “robbed” of about
20 gold medals, which will make it difficult for the country to realise its goal
of safeguarding its place in the top three of the medal tally, an achievement
constantly maintained by Vietnam since the 2003 SEA Games.
However, at this
moment, Vietnamese sport demonstrated a strong transformation, which could even
be considered a win against itself, immediately in its perception of the Games.
Instead of seeking
ways to benefit through “competitions on the conference table”, those
responsible welcomed the “familiar reality” in a calm and proactive manner.
In addition to
affirming that the top-three place would no longer a compulsory target, leaders
of the sports sector specified that Vietnamese sport would not even attach
importance to the medal ranking at the SEA Games, but only focus optimal
resources on preparation and the results of Olympic sports and events, including
shooting, athletics, swimming, fencing and gymnastics, among others.
As assessed by
experts, this is a strategic change, which was outlined, manifested and
accumulated from the two previous SEA Games before seeing real breakthroughs
with a “hitch” created by shooter Hoang Xuan Vinh at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
competing with determination and efforts to win the highest possible results,
the sports sector has taken into account the scenario of Vietnam being knocked
out of the top three at the 2017 SEA Games.
The key tasks set
for this “SEA Games year” is to focus on preparing for the 2018 Asian Games and
the 2020 Olympic Games, and the regional sporting event in Malaysia will only
function as a rehearsal session for the continental and world competition.
At present, the
sports sector has already formed plans for a number of key events as well as
selected outstanding athletes for special investment with the minimum criteria
of being able to vie for Asian Games medals or secure official Olympic berths.
weightlifting and karate, which will make Olympic debut in the 2020 Tokyo Games,
have been identified as three leading “spearheads”.
After a long time of
struggling, the sports sector has finally defined the right position of the SEA
Games just as a stepping stone for the two key goals, the Asian Games and the
The slogan of
“surpassing the SEA Games, approaching the Asian level and strongly breaking
into the Olympic arena” will no longer be a vague one any more.
However, in order to
make that slogan come true, there remains a lot of radical and long-term work
for the sports sector to finalize, including the building of development
schemes, generation of funding sources, renovation of infrastructure and
promotion of movements.
hindrances are also waiting to be addressed, such as the story of benefits and
investment resources among dozens of sports in the system, serious “metastases”
of the achievement disease, or the SEA Games-like seasonal way of thinking and
acting that has lasted for decades.
All those problems
need a certain amount of time to be resolved, together with a specific roadmap
and strong determination.
Even so, there is
always a need for first steps. An important issue that needs to be focused on by
the sports sector, both immediately and in the long term, is to continue seeking
innovative ways in the process of selecting and training sport talents,
particularly in the Olympic and Asian Games sports and disciplines.
With the examples of
success for Vietnam such as shooter Hoang Xuan Vinh or swimmer Nguyen Thi Anh
Vien, there is no doubt about Vietnamese sport’s ability to “renew the old