return icon

Pandemic brings fame in Spain for Vietnam-based cyclist

The coronavirus pandemic has sidelined athletes across the world, but for one Spanish cyclist in Vietnam, it's brought a degree of fame in his home country he never thought possible.


Javier Sarda Perez competes at the annual National Cycling Tournament, HCM City Television Cup early this month. — Photo courtesy of Javier Sarda Perez


Javier Sarda Perez races for HCM City and won the annual National Cycling Tournament, HCM City Television Cup earlier this month, his second consecutive HTV Cup crown.

With Vietnam his second home, Perez plans to live in the country after his retirement from professional racing, which is still some way off.

“At first, it was a little bit hard. Other culture, food, weather, but little by little I got adapted and I’m really happy now and I feel Vietnam is like my home. People are kind and make my life easier,” Perez told Việt Nam News.

“Now I still want to keep racing because I’m in my best moment. I don’t know when I will stop cycling. As long as I have a good legs and motivation, I will be racing. After that I want to stay here in Vietnam and make a future life here,” Perez added.

According to the 32-year-old, the HTV Cup is always the biggest goal for his team and himself, so victory brought him great joy.

This year's glory was especially sweet because he has become a prominent athlete not only in Vietnam but also in Spain.

Javier Sarda Perez celebrates winning the annual National Cycling Tournament, HCM City Television Cup early this month. — Photo courtesy of Javier Sarda Perez

Perez has been interviewed by major newspapers in Spain like Marca, AS, El Mundo as well as television channel Antena 3.

For the first time in his career, Perez has become a star back home as most sports in Spain have been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year was more special due the COVID-19 pandemic. My country suffered a bad situation and had a long and hard quarantine. 

"Here in Vietnam, we have had a normal life and this means we could race at HTV Cup."

When people knew that he was the unique athlete from Spain in this event, they started to follow and asked him about the race.

"It was a little bit crazy but it was also a chance for me to tell more about Vietnam, cycling and the HTV Cup,” said Perez.

Perez said he auctioned his winner's yellow jersey last year to raise money to donate to charity.

“Last year, I met people from when I was participating in an event in Da Nang.

"I could see some children who were living in an orphanage and how this organisation was helping them.

"Since that moment, I felt that I wanted to try to help them because these children deserve the best. 

“I follow them on Facebook and before HTV Cup I thought if I could win the race and sell the yellow jersey, it could be a good way to help them.

“After the race, I auctioned both for US$750,” said Perez.

Javier Sarda Perez seen in training in Da Lat City. — Photo courtesy of Javier Sarda Perez

Perez was in Vietnam for the first time in 2017 to race in the VTV Cup in which he finished second. In 2018, a team from An Giang Province contacted him and he raced for them for almost a year until his current team called him. Since that, he has raced for HCM City.

Perez raced in Spain for a long time as well as Portugal and Japan.

“Cycling is like a tradition in my family. My grandpa was a cyclist also, my uncle followed him and after that, it was my older brother and me. 

"I love this sport and it gave me all in my life,” said Perez.

According to Perez, Vietnamese cycling is growing every year.

“There are super good riders here, and good future riders can help to make cycling in Vietnam bigger. Races and events are also better every year,” said Perez.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Perez is still in HCM City and in training for the VTV Cup.

Javier Sarda Perez lives for the bicycle. — Photo courtesy of Javier Sarda Perez

“I think it’s safer to stay here and wait to see how this situation (COVID-19) is going,” said Perez.

“To be honest, my life in Spain and Vietnam is similar. Every morning, I go training. After that, I just stay at home resting, enjoying with my parents, brother and sister, and walking with my dogs.

“When I’m living in Vietnam, the unique difference is that I’m alone. So I only go training and try to live 24 hours for the bicycle,” Perez added.  VNS

Thanh Nga

Spanish cyclist triumphs at HTV Cycling Tournament 2020

Spanish cyclist triumphs at HTV Cycling Tournament 2020

The 32nd edition of the Ho Chi Minh City Television (HTV) Cycling Tournament concluded on June 7 with Javier Sarda Perez of VUS-HCM City winning the yellow jersey.


Vietnam works to ensure safer internet environment for all people

Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Huy Dung emphasised the importance of a safe internet in the development process in Vietnam on the occasion of World Safer Internet Day 2023 (February 7).

Vietnamese striker Huynh Nhu performs well at Lank FC

On average, Vietnamese striker Huynh Nhu scores a goal every 122 minutes, ranking as the most effective striker for Lank Vilaverdense FC in the 2022-2023 football season.

PM Chinh’s Singapore, Brunei visits look toward cohesive ASEAN

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s upcoming official visits to Singapore and Brunei carry the message of joining hands for a cohesive ASEAN and a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Southeast Asia, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Do Hung Viet said.

Driving training-testing establishments in 63 provinces to be inspected

The Ministry of Transport will set up three teams to inspect driver training and testing activities in 63 provinces and cities, expected to be completed by April 15.

Vietnam’s economy to “normalise” this year: VinaCapital

Investment management firm VinaCapital said it expects Vietnam’s economy and stock market to “normalise” this year after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seven more Vietnamese officers to join UN peacekeeping mission in Africa

Seven officers received the Vietnamese State President's decision to join the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Abyei on February 7.

British naval patrol vessel pays friendly visit to HCM City

HMS Spey, the British Royal Navy’s offshore patrol vessel, anchored at Ho Chi Minh City’s port on February 7, beginning a five-day friendship visit to the city on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Hoang Anh Gia La FC files  lawsuit against VPF

The People's Court of Nam Tu Liem District in Hanoi received a petition from Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) football club against the Vietnam Professional Football JSC (VPF).

Illegal fishing tackled with drastic measures to remove 'yellow card'

The Government, ministries and local authorities have been improving legal enforcement, supervision on the implementation of the law and traceability requirements through heavier fines on illegal fishing.

National water resources master plan looks to revive polluted rivers

Hanoi has treated water pollution at Nhue River, but the plan has not met the requirements. Meanwhile, urban area design plans along Lu and Set rivers in Thanh Xuan District are still under construction.


Vietnam sets 2023 export target of US$394 billion

Trade ministry to support enterprises in boosting exports

The Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) will collaborate with relevant agencies in carrying out measures to help enterprises expand their shares in foreign markets, said Vu Ba Phu, head of the agency.

Vietnam's textile industry faces headwinds in 2023 after poor results in Q4

After being heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, textile and garment enterprises have gradually recovered and were one of the key export industries that recorded extraordinary growth rates in the first months of 2022.

AIS deals with 1,234 cyberattacks in Vietnam in January

The number of cyberattacks on information systems in Vietnam was 1,383 in Jan 2022 and 982 in December 2022.

Pilots from 10 countries compete at Kon Tum paragliding tournament

Nearly 120 pilots from Vietnam and 9 other countries competed in the Kon Tum Open Paragliding Tournament in Kon Tum Province on February 2-5.