Laos pinning Asean University Games gold medal hopes on vovinam

A Lao female fighter at the 5th Asean Vovinam Championships hosted by Myanmar last month.

The nation’s male and female vovinam fighters are quietly confident of winning gold medals in various weight divisions at the Asean University Games to be hosted by Myanmar in December.
This is despite the Vietnamese martial art not being included in the 11th National Games programme in Xieng Khuang province this November.
National Team coach, Mr Viengsouk Hangngeun, said the exclusion of vovinam was unfortunate given the growing popularity of martial arts especially among young people in Laos.
“The Lao vovinam team has previously won gold medals at international events so it’s a shame that vovinam will not feature at this year’s National Games,” he said.
Part of the sport’s problem may be a lack of major sponsors to support national level tournaments and vovinam fighters’ training ahead of international competition.
Currently, 22 fighters are training daily at the Gym Centre in Huayhong village, Chanthabouly district.
Mr Viengsouk said the Lao Vovinam Federation doesn’t have its own dedicated training centre and he has asked the National University of Laos (NUOL) to provide its facilities in the lead up to the University Games in Myanmar.
The University Games’ vovinam programme will comprise 10 different events in the dance and fighting disciplines.
“We would like to send 12 male and four female U-28 fighters to compete at the University Games this year but ultimately it’s up to the NUOL to select the best contestants, he said.
The federation expects the team to comprise a good mix of youth and international experience.
The Lao team won one gold and two silver medals at the 5th Asean Vovinam Championships hosted by Myanmar last month.  Gold medallist Phaylath Thammavongsa overcame competitors from five other countries in the “dancing with weapon” event.

By Sangkhomsay Bubphanouvong
(Latest Update September 13, 2018)


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