Tuesday, 07 March 2017 18:05

Muscled Up

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Fitness is more than a lifestyle choice for a Vietnamese woman and her mother. Words by Harry Hodge


For Nguyen Ngoc Thanh Hang, becoming a fitness competitor was simply following her mother’s footsteps in the family business.


The 20-year-old is one of the bright young stars in Vietnam’s competitive fitness scene, but recalls drawing inspiration from her mother, 45-year-old award-winning bodybuilder Nguyen Thi My Linh.


“(I remember) I saw my mother on stage, which was an extremely beautiful image in my eyes even then,” the younger Nguyen recalled. “Eventually it made me curious, and when I got older I knew I’d be competing like my mother.”


From there, their paths diverge. Her mother followed a regimen of intensive bodybuilding and weight training with a very strict diet, focused on building huge muscles. Look at Nguyen Thi My Linh and you see a ripped specimen, with a big frame, broad shoulders and bulging biceps.


And while there seems to be a beauty pageant of some sort on TV virtually monthly in Vietnam (look no further than Miss University Vietnam as an example), fitness and bodybuilding competitions do not yet enjoy the same level of mainstream coverage. If anything, gyms around Ho Chi Minh City show ridiculously huge (often foreign) bodybuilders in their storefront posters to lure in new members.


The younger Nguyen’s fitness aims are more about tone than building mass like her mother. And anyone who’s seen a fitness pageant is aware of the theatrical aspect and a greater focus on the feminine side of its competitors. Having abs of steel won’t cut it if you don’t look good in a bikini, have an eye-pleasing tan and a memorable floor routine.


While her mother has been competing for a long time, Hang is only in her fourth year of competition. She has already joined the Asian competitive circuit, competing in Thailand last year.


She trains throughout the week except for Saturday and Sunday, with five-hour, three-hour and two-hour blocks. Diet is also important to her success.


“I generally eat mainly fish, protein, meat, eggs, vegetables, fruits and absolutely do not use carbonated soft drinks and starch sugar,” she confided.


She is already making waves around the continent and has a busy competition schedule, with events in May in Singapore, Vietnam in June, late August and early September in South Korea, and Mongolia in December.


“I love theatre and I love people,” she said.


And at just 20, she is set to be a big name across the continent in the years to come.



German Team Eyeing Vietnamese Footballer


Defender Doan Van Hau has attracted the attention of Germany’s Fortuna Dusseldorf, according to Hoang Anh Tuan, coach of the U20 squad, Vietnam News reports.


Hau, 18, trains and plays with V-League champions Hanoi FC. He was one of the best players for the U19 team which won a berth to compete at the upcoming U20 World Cup in South Korea in May.


Responding to the news, Hau said he had not yet received an official offer, but added that it would be great news to any player to get an opportunity to play abroad.


Hau and his teammates will play a friendly match against Fortuna Dusseldorf’s youth team as part of their training in April. They will also compete against Dortmund and PSV Eindhoven.


Saigon Heat Win Key Game


The Heat picked up a crucial upset win last month to stay in the hunt for a playoff berth in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) action, according to the league website.


The Heat stormed back from a 15-point deficit to shock Alab, 72-65, at the Almendras Gym in Davao City.


The Heat not only avenged their loss against the same team the week before, but they also broke a four-game losing stretch.


More importantly, Saigon improved to 2-7 in the team standings as they launched themselves back into the tight race for the fourth playoff spot.


David Arnold was the top scorer for Saigon with 19 points, 12 coming in the pivotal fourth quarter where Saigon outscored Alab 28-8.


Lenny Daniel and Christien Charles added 18 and nine points, respectively. Both grabbed 17 rebounds and combined for seven blocks as the Heat shut Alab down in the final quarter.


New Gambling Decree


Those aged 21 years and up will be allowed to bet on horse and dog racing and international football, according to a recent government decree as reported by Tuoi Tre.


The decree issued by the Vietnamese government came more than three years after the country’s lawmaking National Assembly approved the issuance of regulations regarding the activity. Prior to the legislation, all forms of betting were outlawed in Vietnam and punters could face up to three years behind bars on gambling charges.


According to the new decree, those over 21 years of age whose parents, spouse or children are not involved with the betting company are allowed to place bets on legally organised horse and dog races as well as FIFA-approved international football matches.


Eligible matches for betting are to be listed by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the decree noted. This comes after a recent announcement that Vietnamese citizens who meet specific criteria will be able to gamble in domestic casinos this year.


The amount someone can bet is set from a minimum of VND10,000 (US$0.45) to a maximum of VND1 million (US$45) a day at one betting company.


Parents, spouses or children of bettors can formally request a betting company to ban their loved ones from placing bets, with which the company is obliged to comply, according to the decree.


The bettor may file the request on their own to prevent themselves from being addicted to gambling, the decree said.


World Masters in Danang


Golfers from around the world will flock to Vietnam’s central coast for the Accor Vietnam World Masters Championship from Aug. 13 to Aug. 19, according to Vietnamnet.vn.


The event’s organiser said it invited club golfers from around the world for Asia’s biggest amateur week of golf, with US$10,000 in prizes to be won.


More than 200 golfers from more than 20 countries are expected to compete at golf courses in the central region including the Ba Na Hills Golf Club, BRG Danang Golf Club and the Montgomerie Links Vietnam.


The championship will be a 72-hole single Stableford event so the occasional bad hole doesn’t kill players’ chances.


‘A’ grade golfers will also be eligible to compete in a 72-hole gross event. Golfers will be drawn to play two rounds at each of the two host courses. All golfers will play two morning and two afternoon rounds.


The competitions are played in age divisions and subject to change based on entry numbers. The handicap range for each grade (A, B, C) will be based on final entries.

Last modified on Monday, 01 May 2017 07:08
Harry Hodge

Harry Hodge has written for publications across Canada and Asia, including Metro Edmonton, 24 Hours Toronto, the Korea Herald and many more. In Vietnam you've either read his sports column or seen him pitching skin cream in Vietnamese TV commercials. Follow him on Twitter at @hodgedude or send him a note about your sports events at harry@wordvietnam.com.

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