July 30, 2009
Vietnam is leading the medal count with five out of six gold medals during the opening day of the first World Vovinam Championships on July 28, leaving just one to be won by France.
In the combat events, five of the six finalists were from the home country and four of them won gold medals. Iran bagged one gold medal in the men’s 68 kg category and Russia took home a gold in the men’s 72 kg category. The two-day championships, held in Ho Chi Minh City, have drawn 150 athletes and officials from 14 countries including Australia, Belarus, Cambodia, France, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, Poland, Russia, Romania, Thailand, the Ukraine and Vietnam.
The hosts set a goal of winning 10 to12 gold medals in the performance events and four in the combat events to rank first in the medals tally.
This competition will be a good preparation for the five Asian countries who will take part in the third Asian Indoor Games hosted by Vietnam in November.
Vovinam was founded by Nguyen Loc in Hanoi in 1938.
Based on wrestling, Vietnamese traditional martial arts and a blend of other martial arts such as kung fu, judo and taekwondo, Loc invented a new style called vovinam (Internationalising Vietnamese martial arts).
For 70 years, Vovinam has been developing and spreading throughout many parts of the world and the World Vovinam Federation currently has 28 member federations.
The third Asian Indoor Games is an important launching pad for the development of Vovinam as it will become the first Vietnamese sport to be included in an international competition.