Đoàn Thị Lâm Oanh is widely regarded as the top setter in the country. — Photo courtesy of Oanh

Đoàn Thị Lâm Oanh, currently plays for the Vietnamese women's volleyball team and her club, the Army Signal Corps High Command, and is widely regarded as the top setter in the country.

The 1.77m tall setter's exceptional talent lies in her magical tactical passes, which have been instrumental in her team's recent success. With each passing game, she continues to enhance her performance, displaying versatility and adaptability in her ball-handling decisions.

The setter is arguably the most important player in a volleyball team. They are responsible for setting the ball up for the hitters so that they can score points. The setter does this by receiving the pass from the back row players, then passing the ball to the front-row hitters in a way that gives them the best chance of spiking the ball over the net.

At the age of 25, Oanh has already achieved significant milestones in her career. With the Army Signal Corps High Command Club, she played a critical role in securing four consecutive national championships from 2018 to 2021, as well as winning a gold medal at the 2022 National Sports Games.

On the international stage, she contributed to the Vietnamese national team's triumph at the 2023 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship and secured silver medals at the SEA Games 30, 31, and 32.

Additionally, Oanh led her team to victory at the AVC Challenge Cup 2023, earning them a spot in the prestigious FIVB Challenger Cup held in France last month. Recently, she played an integral part in helping the national team finish second in the SEA V. League's first leg in Vĩnh Phúc Province.

Oanh, the best setter in the SEA V.League's first leg held recently in Vĩnh Phúc Province. — Photo FC Đoàn Thị Lâm Oanh

Oanh's outstanding performances have not gone unnoticed, as she was honoured with the Best Setter award at the AVC Challenge Cup 2023 in Indonesia, marking a historic achievement for Vietnamese volleyball. She has also received accolades for her exceptional setting skills in other tournaments.

Nguyễn Tuấn Kiệt, head coach of the Vietnamese women's volleyball team, emphasised the crucial role played by the setter, who acts as the team's soul in this collective sport.

Oanh possesses the qualities of decisiveness and intelligence required to execute the tactics set by the coaching staff, earning the trust and confidence of Kiệt.

Her journey started to pick up in 2019 when she was called up to the national team after her club's national championship victory. In recent international tournaments, Oanh has emerged as the top scorer, demonstrating her exceptional mindset, keen observation skills, and unwavering confidence in scoring unexpected points.

Oanh's remarkable skills and contributions as a setter have played a crucial role in the success of both her club and the Vietnamese women's volleyball team. Her dedication, adaptability, and ability to make game-changing decisions have established her as one of the most accomplished and respected players in the sport.

Oanh and her family. — Photo courtesy of Oanh

Family passion

Oanh's passion for volleyball and her natural talent seem to be inherited from her family.

She was born into a volleyball-loving family in Quảng Sơn Commune in Quảng Bình Province. Her mother, Đoàn Thị Thu, is a true volleyball enthusiast who, even at the age of 46, continues to frequent the village volleyball court every afternoon to play with other women.

Reflecting on the past, Thu reminisces about the volleyball court, which was nothing more than a soil yard that turned into a muddy field on rainy days. Nevertheless, the love for the sport remained unwavering, and people would gather there to play volleyball after finishing their work in the fields.

Thu played a significant role in fostering Oanh's interest in the sport.

“I took Oanh everywhere I went, from the age of 3 or 4. She always accompanied me to the volleyball court. Even when no one else was around to play, we would play together. Gradually, she developed a deep love for the sport, and it became ingrained deep in her bones,” Thu said.

Around 6th grade, Oanh experienced a sudden growth spurt, reaching a height of nearly 1.60m. This drew attention of others who would tease her. However, it was during this time that Oanh's volleyball skills began to flourish.

Thu took it upon herself to teach her daughter the game, guiding her towards the setter position, just as she had always done. With her mother's guidance, Oanh's abilities on the court continued to improve.

The combination of Oanh's natural talent and her mother's guidance laid a strong foundation for her future success. Their shared love for the sport and the support of her family created an environment that nurtured her skill and passion, setting her on a path to becoming a remarkable setter.

“Every time I see her performance on TV, I just want her to play her best. The whole family and I always support and encourage her,” Thu said.

Another significant source of love and care for Oanh comes from her grandfather. Despite being 80 years old and confined to a wheelchair due to osteoarthritis, he remains devoted to his granddaughter.

He meticulously records every tournament and match in a special notebook, documenting her schedule, results, team names, tournaments, and sponsors.

Since Oanh joined the national team, her grandfather has not missed a single one of her matches. His commitment and attention to detail demonstrate the immense pride and affection he holds for his granddaughter.

Thanks to the unwavering support and love she receives from her family, Oanh feels a solid foundation beneath her as she pursues her passion. Now, she has already achieved the highest honours possible for a Vietnamese volleyball player.

The achievements and accolades earned by the player have filled her family's souvenir cabinet, leaving no space for the numerous certificates of merit, medals, and personal titles she has accumulated over the years.

Oanh's impressive performance at the 2017 Asian Women's U23 Volleyball Championship remains fresh in people's memories, but it was the breakthrough tournament at the 2016 National Youth Volleyball Championship that truly propelled her into the spotlight, earning her the individual title of the best setter.

Now, there is another dedicated space in the cabinet for the best setter award and gold medal she obtained at the AVC Challenge Cup in Indonesia.

Oanh and the national volleyball team celebrate winning the AVC Challenge Cup 2023. Photo volleyballworld.com

Driven by her love for volleyball and the unwavering support of her family, Oanh quickly rose from a reserve player to become a key setter for the Army Signal Corps club, assuming the captain's armband of Việt Nam's most successful volleyball club and becoming a key setter of the national team. However, her path to success has not been without challenges.

"I am always aware that there is still much to learn and improve upon, and I constantly strive to surpass myself," she said.

With her passion, determination, and the unyielding support of her family, Oanh has carved out an impressive path in the world of volleyball, leaving a lasting impact and achieving remarkable success in her career. VNS

Oanh is trying to accumulate expertise to achieve success with the Vietnamese women's volleyball team and her club, the Army Signal Corps High Command. — Photo courtesy of Oanh