This holiday season, express your gratitude for youth sports

(VOV) - As we near the end of 2014, it’s a great time to reflect on the past year and pay tribute to the things we are most grateful for — and Vietnam can be so thankful for the presence of youth sports in our children’s lives.

As a nation, we should be thankful for the sports blessings that have been bestowed upon us, says Deputy Director of the General Department of Sports and Physical Training Lam Quang Thanh.

This year local youth attended the 17th Asian Games (ASIAD) in the Republic of Korea (RoK) and ranked 5th overall on the medal tally – after Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Myanmar.

They won a treasure trove of 36 medals including won one gold, 10 silver and 25 bronze said Thanh, adding the athletes performed admirably and gained valuable experience, which is certain to benefit them in future competitions.

It’s worth noting that the young competitors performed particularly well in swimming and weight-lifting, which bodes well for Vietnam’s future hopes of winning an  Olympic medal in these events.

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Weight-lifter Thach Kim Tuan

At the competition, weightlifter Thach Kim Tuan, 20, won a silver medal in the 56kg category and broke the Asian record in the jerk at 134kg.  He also lifted 294 kg in the snatch.

Earlier, Tuan laid claim to the world junior champion title with a total lift of 293kg. He also earned one gold and two silver medals at the world weight-lifting competition in Kazakhstan. In addition, Tuan was named ‘the Best Young Athlete of the Year’ by the International Weight-lifting Federation (IWF).

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Swimmer Nguyen Thi Anh Vien

Swimmer Nguyen Thi Anh Vien, 18, set a milestone for Vietnamese swimming at ASIAD 17 when she swam to a bronze medal in the women's 400m individual medley event with a record setting time of 4min 39.45sec, bringing home the country’s first ever swimming medal in ASIAD history.

She also stood tall atop the podium as the most promising swimmer at the Nanjing junior Olympics after clinching a gold medal and performed better than expected at the National Sports Festival 2014, laying claim to 20 medals and setting 14 new records.

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Wushu athlete Duong Thuy Vi

Other outstanding young athletes included Duong Thuy Vi who won a gold medal at ASIAD 17 for Vietnam in wushu event.

Bike racer Nguyen Thi That, long jumper Bui Thi Thu Thao, and boxer Luu Thi Duyen also won medals. They have pinned high hopes on reaching future more difficult targets of ASIAD 18 in Indonesia in 2018 and Olympic Rio 2016.

Lam Quang Thanh said young Vietnamese athletes would make breakthrough at continental competitions, especially in Olympic sports like gymnastics, boxing, fencing, swimming and cycling. Such talents as Anh Vien, Kim Tuan, Nguyen Thi That and Luu Thi Duyen are expected to paint brighter prospects for the Vietnamese sport sector in the largest sporting events in the continent and the world, he underscored.

We hope you, like Lam Quang Thanh will take time this holiday season to reflect on the importance of being thankful for the presence of youth sports in our children’s lives.