Young “Robinhoods” shooting for the stars at Tokyo Olympics

Securing a berth at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has been a turning point in the sporting careers of Do Thi Anh Nguyet and Nguyen Hoang Phi Vu - the first Vietnamese archers to qualify for the world’s largest sporting event. ​

Young “Robinhoods” shooting for the stars at Tokyo Olympics hinh anh 1

Archer Do Thi Anh Nguyet (Source: sport5.vn)

Securing a berth at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has been a turning point in the sporting careers of Do Thi Anh Nguyet and Nguyen Hoang Phi Vu - the first Vietnamese archers to qualify for the world’s largest sporting event.

Both found success at the Asian Archery Championships in Thailand last November and booked their spot at the Games, which has unfortunately been postponed until summer 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

From an unexpected turn …

Becoming an archer was not the first choice of either Nguyet or Vu, as they started their sporting careers as a basketball player (Nguyet) and a pistol shooter (Vu).

Their coaches, however, came to recognise that they will not have a promising future in their initial choices but may somehow be more suited to archery, and then advised them to switch their sporting endeavour.

Nguyet, born in 2001, at first declined but eventually agreed to try archery after encouragement from her new coaches.
“It was really difficult at first because archery is, needless to say, totally different from basketball,” she said. “I had to adjust from a ‘busy’ sport to a ‘quiet’ one.”

She gradually discovered the angles involved in archery and became more interested in the sport of bow and arrows.

Meanwhile, the 1999-born Vu has some advantage as his grandfather was a target shooting coach in Hanoi’s neighbouring province of Hai Duong province.

Recognising Vu’s ability, his parents agreed to let him join the provincial shooting centre at the age of 13.

After several months of training, however, Vu’s coaches realised it would be difficult for him to thrive in the sport because of his short-sightedness in one eye and astigmatism in the other.

He was then introduced to the local archery team in 2012 and won a place in the national junior team in 2015.

… to initial sweet success

Both Nguyet and Vu progressed well in their new sport and were sent to the Republic of Korea - the dominant force in Olympic archery - to undergo intensive training.

The training well and truly paid off as the pair finished among the top three in their respective men’s and women’s recurve events at the 2019 Asian Archery Championships, securing their tickets to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“It was a surprise for me to win a berth at the Olympics at my first international competition,” Nguyet said. This achievement, she went on, has pushed her to reach further and higher in the sport.

Similarly, Vu said this was a turning point in his career.

 

“The result was partly thanks to my efforts and partly from luck,” he explained, recounting that he had to compete in windy conditions and twice trailed his opponents. “But, fortunately, I clawed my way back and won, which made me so happy.”

Young “Robinhoods” shooting for the stars at Tokyo Olympics hinh anh 2

Archer Do Thi Anh Nguyet (Source: sport5.vn)

Robinhood-hood ahead

Both Nguyet and Vu believe these achievements are just the start of a long career in archery, where they’ll have to face more obstacles and harder targets.

Both recognise they are young and lack experience, especially when it comes to international tournaments.

The Asian Archery Championships were their most unforgettable overseas tournament where they were expected to merely learn from the region’s best archers.

What the pair did, however, was better than anyone could have imagined, even themselves.

Nguyet said she never thought she would have such an early success after just two years of training.

“This is major encouragement for me as I am more confident about international competitions, including the Tokyo Olympic Games.”

For Vu, archery has now become a passion and his eye problems are no cause for concern.

“I know it’s a disadvantage for me, especially when I have to compete in windy or rainy conditions,” he said. “But I will try to stay calm and patient, which are decisive in archery.”

Both know they still have a long road ahead but what they have achieved so far will motivate them to work harder and aim higher.

Prior to each competition, both said, they work hard to not put pressure on themselves and have found that calmness and concentration are key to success in this “quiet” sport.

“Train a lot and stay calm and focused, and you can go as far as you want,” they both believe./. VNA

Trinh Linh Ha

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