Hard time for Vietnam’s Muay Thai

After three years developing, Muay or Thai boxing – a kind of martial arts from Thailand, have developed in HCMC and several provinces and cities across Vietnam. In 2011, Muay Vietnam keeps on shining in the world competition. Fans expect a broad “boulevard” going parallel with the enlargement of Muay.

Ngoc Linh (left, in red) poses with a children fan (Photo:SGGP)

After winning two gold, five silver and two bronze medals in the 8th World Amateur Muay Thai Championships held in Thailand last month, Muay Vietnam team continued to compete in the World Semi-professional Muay Thai Championships for the championship belts in Thailand last month.

Surprisingly, three boxers from Muay Vietnam team reached semi-final round. Among them, Phan Thi Ngoc Linh , the world gold medal winner in 2010, was so excellent that she could knock out her rival with a knee strike and get the first semi-professional championship belt for Muay Vietnam.
Born in 1987 in Khanh Hoa province, Ngoc Linh‘s choice to learn martial arts was quite unpredicted, because before that she had been an athletic.

In grade 7, she used to win the Shot-put Championship twice in the 2004 and 2005 Phu Dong Festival of Khanh Hoa province. After that, Ngoc Linh officially became a student at HCMC University of Sport and her major was athletics. In 2007, as a second-year student, thanks to her friends’ encouragement, she began to learn traditional martial arts at Sport and National Defense Center 2.
After two years training, Ngoc Linh got a bronze medal in the National Championships 2008 in Quy Nhon, Binh Dinh. With her knowledge of martial arts, she started learning Muay Thai to prepare for her participation in some important international sport events in 2009. With some short-training terms at some Muay training centers in Bangkok, Ngoc Linh impressively won a bronze medal in the 1st Asian Martial Arts Games 2009 in Bangkok.

Four months later, Ngoc Linh lost the gold medal for Vietnam Sport Team at SEA Games 25 to the host country’s boxer. After one year, despite the unsuccess in the amateur championship, she still could get the championship belt at semi-professional championship and enter the history of Muay Vietnam.

Opportunities to develop
The official membership in the World Muay Thai Association is a good lever for Muay Vietnam’s development. So, it is suggested that the National Sport Association should have a more positive view on this sport and help to popularize it in the society.

According to Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Anh, the vice president of High-performance Sports Department, at the national level, with its attraction, it is quite easy for Muay to reach the high socialization although it is not supported by the National Sport Association. If Muay becomes one official sport event in the big sport festival, it will be totally possible for the Muay Vietnam boxers to win the medals. 

The good news for Muay Thai fans is that the four strongest boxers of HCMC would compete for the championship belts in the Vietnam International Muay Thai Tournament in Ninh Thuan on the April 15th evening.

Beside the matches of 4 amateur pairs, the organizers will arrange 2 professional matches between the Thailand boxers to show the attraction of this kind of martial arts. If this tournament is successful, this model of tournament will be widespread to serve the fans and speed up the development of Muay Thai.

By Ha Huy Tuong – Translated by Vu Minh

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