Martial arts fetch Vietnam's first gold at SEA Games 31

By Lam Thoa, Duc Dong   May 10, 2022 | 05:30 am PT
Martial arts fetch Vietnam's first gold at SEA Games 31
To Thi Trang (green) during a match with the Philippines' Helen Aclopen in the women's kurash 48kg weight class in Hoai Duc Gymnasium, Hanoi, May 10, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
The national kurash team won Vietnam’s first four gold medals at the SEA Games 31 in Hanoi Tuesday.

To Thi Trang won the women's kurash wrestling competition in the 48kg weight class. She defeated Myanmar's Su Khin Khin and teammate Vo Thi Thuy Duong; then lost to Thailand's Duangdara Kumlert before defeating Helen Aclopen of the Philippines to take first place with three wins.

Hanoi native Trang, 23, has been practicing judo since she was 11 and only switched to kurash seven years ago.

"I lost a match and felt overwhelmed by the pressure, but was able to catch up, eventually. I am proud at competing in the SEA Games for the first time this year and winning the first gold medal," she said.

The SEA Games gold follows a bronze in the 48kg weight category at the Asian kurash championship in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, in March this year.

After Trang won the first gold medal, the national kurash team delivered more good news with three other athletes following suit.

In the men's 81kg category, Vietnam's Minh Quan and Thanh Hien won their first two matches, helping the national kurash teams secure a gold medal in this event before the two fighters competed for first and second place.

Quan, the SEA Games 30 gold medalist, defeated his junior Hien, who was competing in the event for the first time, to claim the top spot.

Similarly, in the men's 90kg event, Vietnam was assured of a gold medal before entering the final match, with both Tran Thuong and Le Duy Thanh winning their previous two matches.

In the decisive match, Thuong emerged the winner and took gold and Thanh earned a silver.

Nguyen Thi Hong Mo won gold in the women's 52kg weight class after losing to a Vietnamese teammate before going on to beat contestants from Myanmar, the Philippines, and Thailand.

Kurash is a traditional martial art practiced primarily in Central Asian countries, particularly Uzbekistan. Since the late 1990s, modern kurash has been federated and organized into international tournaments, and it was introduced to Vietnam in 2005.

The sport's technique and format are very similar to Judo, but Kurash rules prohibit any actions on the floor. Action is allowed only in standing position – there is no groundwork, which means actions consist mainly of throws and leg sweeps.

Vietnam compete in kurash at SEA Games 31 in Hanoi, May 10, 2022.

The Vietnamese kurash team is only one gold medal away from reaching the target of five gold medals at this year's event after winning all four weight classes today.

At the SEA Games 30 in the Philippines, Vietnam finished first in kurash with seven golds, one silver and two bronzes.

The kurash contests will be held over another two days, with the men's 60kg and 66kg events and women's 87kg event Wednesday; and the men's 73kg event and women's 57kg and 70kg events Friday.

Also Tuesday, the Vietnamese beach handball players defeated the Philippines 2-1 in extra time, helping guarantee a gold for the home team before the final. In the last match tomorrow, Vietnam will play Thailand, while the Philippines will play Singapore.

Vietnam is currently in second place in the medal tally with four golds, behind Malaysia with six.

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