Minh suffers shock defeat in first round of Malaysia Open

Vietnamese top badminton player Nguyen Tien Minh lost to Hidayat Taufik of Indonesia 2-1 in the first round of the Malaysia Open at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday, Jan 17.

Minh, world No 6 and seeded No 3 in the tournament, had a good start in the first set after beating the Indonesian player, world No 17, with a score of 21-10.

However, Olympian Minh was defeated 21-7 and 21-9 in the second and third set.

Taufil was world No 1 in 2000. He was also a two-time Asian Games champion and won an Olympic gold medal in 2004 and a world gold medal in 2005.

HCM City-born Minh has played against Taufik five times, including one time where Minh beat Taufik.

The tournament will last until this Sunday and distribute US$400,000 in prize money.

Le Quang Liem to compete in UK chess festival

Vietnamese chess player Le Quang Liem will leave the Aeroflot chess tournament in Russia to compete in the UK’s Festival Tradewise Gibraltar 2013 from January 22-31.

Le Quang Liem.

The schedule is not favourable for Liem as some other important tournaments will be held at the same time.  

He has decided to register for the UK chess festival which is considered a prestigious event for leading chess players in the world.

The list includes Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine, Elo: 2758), Gata Kamsky (US, Elo: 2740), Michael Adams (UK, Elo: 2725), Radoslaw Wojtaszek (Poland, Elo: 2723), Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France, Elo: 2711), David (the Czech Republic, Elo: 2710) and Alexei Shirov (Latvia, Elo: 2708).

In the British event, Liem is placed 8th with Elo of 2705.

Festival Tradewise Gibraltar is a challenge for him when in the last event he was continuously held to a draw.

Liem won the Aeroflot chess tournament championship titles in 2010 and 2011.

Sai Gon Heat clinch first win in Asian Basketball League

Vietnamese basketball team Sai Gon Heat secured its first win at the Asean Basketball League, edging out Chang Thailand Slammers 77-75. After losing the first game at home to Westports Malaysia Dragons at the Tan Binh Gymnasium, HCM City, Sai Gon Heat bounced back strongly in the second and away game to come out on top in the closest game of the round.

Imports Dior Lowhorn and David Palmer were once again towers of strength for Sai Gon Heat, ending up main scorers in the match in which the winner was determined by the last shot at the last moment.

Heat led Slammers in the first and second quarter but Slammers pulled back one point in the third quarter, leaving Heat with a two-point advantage at 54-52.

The Vietnamese team pocketed its first win of the season after holding Slammers to a 23-23 draw in the fourth quarter.

Lowhorn finished the game with 21 points and 10 rebounds while David Palmer had 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Heat will take on defending champions Indonesia Warriors tomorrow at the Tan Binh Gymnasium in HCM City.

Da Nang ready to face off against Xuan Thanh in Super Cup

V-League defending champions SHB Da Nang will take on Xuan Thanh Cement in the Super Cup match on February 23.

Da Nang, which own five national players, is considered the favourite when they play the match, which is seen as the season's curtain-raiser at home. The team has the best lineup for the game.

Da Nang has secured the service of V-League's three-time best scorer Gaston Merlo for one more year. They will take advantage of the chance to add the missing trophy to their prize-winner's room.

Except for the considerable loss following the departure of main striker Huynh Kesley Alves, the National Cup holders Xuan Thanh still have a strong team.

The HCM City-based football team is expected to pose a stern test to the home team Da Nang.