Vietnam is exerting efforts to have Vovinam, the country’s national martial art, included among sports to be contested at the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in the Philippines.
With the host country having axed Vovinam from the preliminary list of 30 sports for competition at the biennial event, Vietnam now faces the third consecutive Games where the sport is omitted.
The 30th edition of the regional multi-sport event is slated to be hosted by the Philippines from November 30 to December 10, 2019.
The Philippines has also decided not to include women’s football and women’s futsal, of which Vietnam are one of the regional giants, in the list of sports.
Nguyen Binh Dinh, deputy chairman of the Southeast Asian Vovinam Federation, believes that there is still time to turn the tide for the Vietnamese martial art.
Dinh has recently visited the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) to seek their backing in the bid to have Vovinam included in the 2019 SEA Games.
The Vietnamese official is providing technique training to Myanmar’s Vovinam team, which will compete at the 2018 Southeast Asia Vovinam Championships in July and the 2018 ASEAN School Games in December.
Dinh has therefore been trying to use his influence to seek support from Myanmar. Understandably, the country has vowed to root for the Vietnamese martial art.
|A Vietnamese Vovinam martial artist is pictured during a practice session with Myanmarese athletes. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
U Myo Hlaing, general secretary of the Olympic Council of Myanmar, has made it clear that his country will always support having Vovinam competition at the region's biggest sporting event.
Leaders of the Olympic Council of Southeast Asian countries will convene for a meeting this August.
If the Olympic Council of Vietnam continues to appeal for Vovinam to be included in the 2019 SEA Games at this meeting, Myanmar will be willing to say yes and encourage other countries to support the idea, Hlaing said.
Hlaing underlined that Myanmar’s sports authorities had tried to keep Vovinam in the last two SEA Games, but the efforts were to no avail.
The most recent SEA Games where Vovinam was contested was the 2013 edition, hosted by Myanmar. The country has since grown quite fond of the Vietnamese martial art.
Besides its home country, Vovinam has enjoyed increasing popularity in six other Southeast Asian nations - Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
More than 150 Vovinam martial artists from these seven countries will start competing at the 2018 Southeast Asia Vovinam Championships in Nay Pyi Taw next month.
The event also offers a great chance for Vietnam to seek support from these countries in its appeal for Vovinam competition at the 2019 SEA Games.
|A foreign Vovinam master teaches his students in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Vovinam, founded in 1936 by martial artist Nguyen Loc, is the national martial art of Vietnam.
The sport revolves around the doctrine “revolution of the mind," encouraging its disciples to always renew themselves.
Vovinam discipline is practiced in the hands, elbows, legs, knees and weapons such as swords, knives, chisels, claws, and fans.
The martial art is well-received in Europe and is especially popular in France, which has at least one club dedicated to the sport in many cities.
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