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High hopes for vovinam

TOPS officers
Master Gonzaga with TOPS officers.

VOVINAM maybe a popular Vietnamese martial art sport, but the Filipinos can also excel in it.

Vovinam Master Jojo Quy Tran Gonzaga, Jr. believes the few and the proud Filipino vovinam athletes can represent the country well if given the chance in the 31st Southeast Asian Games scheduled Nov. 20-Dec. 2 in Hanoi, Vietnam.

In fact, some of them can bring home the medals in the biennial event.

We’re starting from scratch. Para sa akin, nagsisimula ako ng zero dito sa Pilipinas dahil bago pa nga lang kami,” said Gonzaga during the “Usapang Sports on Air” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom recently.

Right now, we still don’t’ have a strong team. But I can say that we have always brought home at least two medals every time we compete abroad with three representatives,” added Gonzaga during the weekly sports forum sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) and Games and Amusements Board (GAB).

Magagaling na din ang mga Filipinos sa vovinam, lalo na sa sparring,”he added.

One of tbe steps being taken by Gonzaga is to reach out to more Filipinos and encourage them to try vovinam.

It is an exciting sport which Filipinos can enjoy. I have started conducting lessons in my place in Marikina, but the pandemic came. Now we have a lot of restrictions due to health and safety protocols.”

Gonzaga said vovinam is one of the 40 sports listed by the Vietnam Olympic Council and SEA Games oganizing committee.

Being a Vietnamese martial art sport , siguradong naka-focus sila (Vietnamese) sa vovinam gaya natin sa arnis nun SEA Games dito,” explained Gonzaga.

Among the more prominent Filipino vovinam athletes in the coming SEA Games are Kristine Baguio, Jaysa Anna Gabuya, and Cedric Bolneo.

Baguio captured the gold medal in the women’s 63 kgs in Doi Khan Sparring in the World Championships in Cambodia in 2019 and gold medal in 2018 Thap Tu Quyen in Myanmar.

Gabuya, on the other hand, pocketed the gold in the 49kgs category in Dhoi Kang in the Asian Vovinam Championships in Bali, Indonesia.

And Bolneo earned the silver in the Southeast Asian Championships 57kg Dhoi Kang in Myanmar.