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SEA Games and Vietnamese people’s love of sports

“Let’s go to the storm!”, shouted Mr. Nguyen Quang Tuan when player Nham Manh Dung scored in the 83rd minute, helping Vietnam get another gold medal in men’s football, on the evening of May 22.

“I’m so proud, I can’t miss celebrating the victory with the people of the country, when Vietnam beat Thailand for the first time in the SEA Games final,” said Mr. Tuan, who accompanied the 20 national team. last year, said. Despite the rain after the match, he held a flag and a drum around his neck to join the crowd cheering on the street.

This is the second time the 73-year-old man, from Thanh Xuan district, Hanoi “goes into the storm” through the night. Before that, he used to ride a motorbike through 36 streets, shouting “Vietnam is champion”, when the U23 Vietnam team won the AFF Suzuki Cup for the first time in 2018.

The “night storm” was first recorded in Vietnam in 1995, when the Vietnamese football team won a silver medal at the SEA Games. Since then, storming has become a feature and entertainment activity of Vietnamese football fans whenever the home team has an important victory at major tournaments.

Residents of HH Linh Dam apartment building (Hanoi) went into a storm after the victory of the U23 Vietnam team.  Photo:Pham Chieu

Residents of HH Linh Dam apartment building (Hanoi) “went storm” after the victory of the U23 Vietnam team. Image:Pham Chieu

Twenty years after the Vietnamese sports delegation traveled around Southeast Asia to cheer, Mr. Tuan said, nowhere else is the people enthusiastic, showing the spirit of love for sports and hospitality like in Vietnam. He has witnessed in other countries, when he won the gold medal, the fans just shouted on the field and returned home quietly.

Two weeks into the 31st SEA Games, the media and people of Southeast Asia have praised the passionate spirit of Vietnamese fans. In all competitions, there is always a large audience to cheer, even when the home team is not attending.

Before the group stage match between Singapore U23 and Laos U23, Thien Truong Stadium (Nam Dinh) was filled with the audience with 60 trumpeters and 18 Vietnamese drummers. Fans also organize parades, cheering for your team. Fanpage ASEAN Football The stadium in Nam Dinh city has set a record for the match with the most spectators, at a neutral venue in the history of the SEA Games, with 30,000 fans.

Coach Michael Weiss of Laos U23 expressed surprise by the large crowd on Thien Truong Stadium cheering. “These will be good memories for Laos U23 members and the whole team. We have the feeling of playing at home with the most passionate cheers,” said Michael Weiss after the match on May 7. .

Following each match of the national team, Noly Xaythideth, 26, of Vientiane, Laos expressed his appreciation to know that Vietnamese fans cheered enthusiastically with all sports delegations. “Especially in matches with the Lao team, Vietnamese people come in large numbers. They bring flags and drums to cheer, and the stands are always full of people. That’s a great motivation for athletes to compete. away from home and makes me feel warm,” said Noly Xaythideth.

More than 16,000 spectators on Cam Pha field burst with joy when striker Huynh Nhu scored, helping Vietnam defeat Thailand to win the 31st SEA Games gold medal. Photo: Group of reporters.

More than 16,000 spectators on Cam Pha field burst into joy when striker Huynh Nhu scored, helping Vietnam defeat Thailand to win the 31st SEA Games gold medal. Photo: Reporters group

Not only football but also sports that are often sparsely watched, such as basketball, athletics, swimming, fencing… also recorded a record number of spectators at the gymnasium. Nguyen Trong Ho, Director of the National Sports Complex, said that on average, each athletics match at SEA Games 31 attracts more than 10,000 spectators, about 20 times more than other tournaments.

Some private competition areas such as swimming and archery sometimes have to close or stop accepting spectators because of overcrowding. “We were very surprised when fans came to see the crowd, especially the medal round,” said Mr. Ho.

“The most impressive thing about this year’s SEA Games is the support of the people,” said Tran Duc Phan, Head of the Vietnamese sports delegation at the 31st SEA Games. “We have directed the venue to create conditions for people to come in and see. If there are no seats, sit on the steps. The localities also do not sell tickets. The organizers were extremely surprised because people came to the stadium very much. many. Sports have entered the lives and activities of all Vietnamese people”.

“It is pride, national pride,” said Dr. Nguyen Anh Hong, a cultural researcher. According to her, the fact that people lined up and sat on the stands at the 31 SEA Games to cheer them on showed both their love of sport and their desire to relieve their mind after a long stretch of time. way because of disease.

Following each match closely, Ms. Hong noticed that the Vietnamese audience cheering became more and more civilized, showing the spirit of fair play, not only with the home team but also with the friend team. “They bring to the stands a vibrant, enthusiastic atmosphere instead of focusing on winning and losing,” the researcher said.

Since the opening day of SEA Games 31, Binh Minh, 30 years old, Hoang Mai district has been cheering for the competing teams. “I can’t go to all the matches due to the overlapping schedule and distribution in many provinces. But every day I try to go to a stadium, a stadium in Hanoi. At the weekend, I will choose one of the provinces in Ha. Nam, Bac Ninh, Hai Phong, Quang Ninh go to cheer,” Minh said.

To avoid affecting his work, he applied to work online, solving work at night or early in the morning. In the past two weeks, Binh Minh was surprised when the stands never cooled down. Dance sports, dancesport, fencing, swimming, table tennis are always full of people, even in the middle of the week.

“It is a great motivation for us to have more motivation, will and determination to achieve the best, bring glory to the country,” said long jump athlete Bui Thi Thu Thao, medal winner. silver at SEA Games 31 said.

The female athlete said that at the 31st SEA Games, in the stands of few or no antagonistic sports, an average of about 10,000 spectators – something she and her teammates had never seen before when competing abroad. .

“Besides cheering for the home team, the Vietnamese are very enthusiastic about the away team. Many athletes from your country expressed their emotions when they felt like playing at home,” said Thu Thao.

The case of athlete Felisberto de Deus, 23, who took home two silver medals in the 5,000 m and 10,000 m races, for Timor Leste is a typical example.

“I thought I was playing at home. The Vietnamese cheered me on every lap. They kept clapping their hands, shouting Timor Leste’s name. That was probably my motivation to finish the competition well,” Felisberto said. .

And Timor Leste’s athletics coach constantly bows and says thank you when mentioning the Vietnamese. “We were surprised to find that we were not alone in celebrating the victory because thousands of people were clapping behind us. There has never been a country where we have come to compete with people cheering and treating us as well as we did. Vietnam”, Felisberto’s coach, expressed.

Felisberto De Deus carried both the Timor Leste flag and the Vietnamese flag running along stand A to celebrate.  Photo: Duc Dong

Felisberto De Deus carried both the Timor Leste flag and the Vietnamese flag running along stand A to celebrate. Image: Duc Dong

Noly Xaythideth admitted that the passion and sportsmanship of the Lao people is not equal to that of Vietnam because of the small population and the low number of people interested. In particular, the image of the stands covered in national red or storming through the night has never happened in Laos. “The atmosphere and enthusiasm in Vietnam is rare for any other country in the ASEAN community,” said the 26-year-old.

Explaining more about the reason why Vietnamese fans are increasingly interested in sports, cultural expert Nguyen Hung Vy, former lecturer at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University, Hanoi, said that is patriotism, national pride mixed with the spirit of sport, based on the principles of transparency, equality, kindness and impartiality.

“Besides, the development of media and mass sports movement has been promoted; the purpose of the SEA Games organizers is to divide the sports into many provinces and cities, creating favorable conditions for enthusiasts. being approached; plus the mentality of wanting to go out after two years of the epidemic is the reason why the stands are always full of people,” Mr. Vy said.

Talking about the development of the country’s sports, Mr. Hung Vy said that it took Vietnam nearly 40 years, from a country with poor physical strength to assert its leading position in the professional competition arena.

The 22nd SEA Games has marked a turning point for Vietnamese sports. At the end of the congress, the Vietnamese delegation had 752 athletes, leading the standings with 158 gold medals, nearly twice as much as Thailand’s second team. In addition, the delegation had 97 silver medals and 91 bronze medals. At the 31st SEA Games, the whole delegation recorded 446 medals, of which 205 gold medals.

“It’s been a long process of hard work, perseverance, we have a right to be proud of. I am sure that at the next Games, the support of the Vietnamese people is the driving force for the athletes to achieve good results. Especially, the movement to promote civilization in the stands will be increasingly replicated”, the researcher expressed.

And Mr. Quang Tuan has planned to prepare with the Vietnamese sports delegation to Cambodia to attend the Southeast Asian Games in 2023. “There is no longer the home field advantage, but I hope to stand side by side with the Vietnamese delegation, so that the I also want to spread the spirit of love for sports and passion in the Vietnamese stands to friends from countries in the region and around the world,” the 73-year-old man said with a smile. .

Quynh Nguyen

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