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21/06/2021 - 14:40

Driving force behind Hue wrestling team successes

By coincidence, the moment Mr. Dinh Van Kien set foot on Hue Railway Station to visit his friends in Hue was also the time he - one of Vietnam’s first female wrestling coaches - was attached to Hue wrestling, to the ancient capital and the resounding successes afterwards.

Coach Dinh Van Kien (left) at a training session for students

Casual conversation

Head of the Wrestling Division and coach of Hue wrestling team Dinh Van Kien is not the first person to take charge of the provincial wrestling team because from 1983 to early 2006, the provincial wrestling team was led by a number of experts, coaches from Hue and Bac Giang.

However, since the coach from Dong Anh, Hanoi took charge of, Hue wrestling team has quickly won many achievements in big arenas, and affirmed its foothold on the national and Southeast Asian wrestling map.

In August 2006, wishing to change the work environment, the man who was currently the coach of Hanoi female freestyle wrestling team Dinh Van Kien accepted the invitation to Da Nang in order to train this city’s wrestling team at the fellow student’s invitation.

When passing Hue Railway Station, Mr. Dinh Van Kien got off the train with the intention of staying in Hue for one or two days to visit his friend (who was a then provincial Taekwondo coach) and the scenic spots of the Ancient Capital before boarding the train to Da Nang as planned.

However, a casual encounter held the man from Dong Anh, Hanoi. While waiting for his friend to finish his training session at the Provincial Sports Secondary School, Dinh Van Kien met the school's then principal Le Thanh Hung.

During conversation, knowing that Dinh Van Kien is a female wrestling coach, Mr. Hung said that Hue also wished to develop female wrestling, and he wanted Kien to give the students training for a few days. If everything went well, they would cooperate.

“Although I only roamed Hue for a day or two, the scenery and people here made me feel that this land is a place worth attachment. With a bit of romanticism, desire to conquer the challenge, I accepted Mr. Hung's invitation. And a few days later, I officially led the Hue wrestling team," recalled coach Dinh Van Kien.

One success after another

After a year of training and building the female wrestling team, coach Dinh Van Kien and his students reaped the first "sweet fruits" with 8 silvers at Bac Ninh Youth Championship 2007. Subsequently, in 2008, young wrestlers continued to win 2 golds at the Phù Đổng National Youth Games in Phu Tho, equivalent to 2 golds at the youth championship.

Hue female wrestling team won the first team prize in freestyle at the National Cup of Classical and Freestyle Wrestling 2020

This was followed by a series of achievements at the youth tournaments in the ensuing years. In 2012, Hue wrestling team won the first gold at the national championship and the Southeast Asian championship. Since then, Hue wrestling team, especially female one, has begun to become a counterweight to the strong provinces and cities in wrestling.

And since 2015, under the guidance of coach Dinh Van Kien, Nguyen Thi My Hanh, Nguyen Thi My Trang, Pham Van Co... have appeared with a series of outstanding achievements. Typically, that My Hanh won the ASIAD bronze, the SEA Games gold, competed for the Olympic slot... has offered Hue wrestling team a foothold in the wrestling village of Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

Additionally, if in many provinces and cities, for wrestling team, each event (men's freestyle, women's freestyle, classical and traditional wrestling) usually has 2 coaches; even like Hanoi, each event has 5 coaches in charge, but for Hue wrestling team, so far only coach Dinh Van Kien has taught all the events.

However, with the average annual contribution of 50-60 medals, 20-25 golds of which are for the overall achievements of the provincial sports, this is the commendable training and competition effort made by the wrestling division in general and coach Dinh Van Kien in particular.

Talking about the above achievements, coach Dinh Van Kien said that in addition to aptitude, compared with the common standard, Hue athletes are assiduous and able to endure hardship; even in terms of willpower, many female athletes are resilient, know how to progress. It provides the foundation for them to overcome their own limitations to succeed.

In addition, at the time when he trained Hanoi women's wrestling team and worked with many generations of Russian and Chinese experts... he himself accumulated a lot of valuable experience in recruiting and training athletes.

Also from the accumulated experience, coach Dinh Van Kien both applied and improved a number of methods to increase athletes’ efficiency in training and competition.

In training, because the Central Region and Highlands have almost no tradition of wrestling, Hue athletes lack counterweight for training. To overcome this limitation, coach Dinh Van Kien used male athletes as the “opponents” for female athletes.

In competition, as in the double-leg technique (technique of hugging and lifting a opponent's two legs, then throwing him to the ground), if athletes in other province or city lift opponents in a kneeling or standing position, Hue athletes use an improved technique. Specifically, in the beginning, an athlete will perform a kneeling position, but at the time of moving close to the opponent, he suddenly switches to a standing position. "This keeps the opponent amazed, passive and restricts being counterattacked by the opponent," revealed coach Dinh Van Kien.

So far, the man born in 1977 has lived in Hue for more than 15 years. This period of time is neither long nor short. However, the achievements of Hue wrestling team and the forecasts emphatically affirm the talent, enthusiasm and love of the coach from Dong Anh, Hanoi for Hue wrestling team and the ancient capital.

Story and photos: Han Dang

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