SEA Games 31: Blood, sweat and tears fuel young Vietnamese athlete’s dreams

General

15-year-old Van Quynh Phuong, a 9th grader at M. V. Lomonosov Middle and High School, is the youngest Vietnamese athlete participating in the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31), competing in dancesport.

Although Phuong took the first steps towards professional dancesport only three years ago, she has shimmied her way to bring home hundreds of medals and awards, including 26 golds from major national and international tournaments in 2020-2021.

Her dance partner is Tien Minh, who won the crown at the national U18 championships. They were the first Vietnamese athletes to secure a championship title at a tournament held by the World DanceSport Federation.

The duo now rank 142nd in the world, the highest standing ever achieved by a Vietnamese dancesport pair.

Thanks to her outstanding performance at the National Dancesport Club Championships last March, Phuong was picked for the national team to become the youngest ever Vietnamese athlete at the SEA Games.

Her mother, Nguyen Linh, said since she was small, Phuong has been an independent and strong girl. She never gives up her dreams and strives to make them come true.

Her mother has repeatedly tried to stop her from pursuing dancesport after seeing the blood, sweat and tears in training.

At the National Dancresport Club Championships 2022, Phuong had to use painkillers for a major foot injury that made her in tears every time she put her shoes on.

However, the girl put the injury off until after the competition, and her third prize and selection for SEA Games 31 were just rewards.

Phuong said she is grateful to her coaches and especially her mother, who have always given her encouragement and stood by her side. Apart from sporting successes, the girl has recorded outstanding academic achievements in all subjects, especially physics for which she has a special love.

Her headteacher Tran Thi Ngoc Anh said Phuong is always a top student in the class. After each training session, she borrows notes from her friends to catch up.

Phuong said she is aiming to win a SEA Games gold to meet the expectations of her parents, teachers, friends and fans, as well as to promote dancesport.

Dancesport will include 12 events this time, including six each in the Standard and Latin disciplines.

The Vietnamese dancesport team has set a target of winning three gold medals at the Games, which is taking place in Hanoi and 11 nearby cities and provinces.

The athletes will vie in the waltz, tango, Viennese waltz, slow foxtrot, quickstep, samba, cha cha cha, rumba, paso doble and jive categories.

At the last SEA Games in the Philippines, the Vietnamese dancesport team took home two gold medals in the quickstep and jive events.

The SEA Games 31 dancesport competitions are scheduled for May 15-16 at Long Bien Gymnasium in Hanoi.

Source: Vietnam News Agency