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Vietnam an emerging table tennis country?

(Photo: ITTF)

The 2017 Southeast Asian Games saw Vietnam cause a big shock in the Men’s Team category as the country defied the odds to achieve a gold medal finish in Kuala Lumpur.

Taking on title favourites Singapore in the final, Vietnam prevailed by a 1-3 scoreline to prevent Singapore from winning the trophy at the SEA Games for the first time since 1995 and the head of Table Tennis Department of the National Sports Administration in Vietnam Phan Anh Tuan hailed the team’s tremendous efforts:

“It is a historic victory for Vietnam in these regional games”, said Phan Anh Tuan. “We have taken the men’s singles and doubles, and the mixed doubles titles, but have never won a men’s team event, the most important one.”

Despite Dinh Quang Linh falling to a four games defeat against Singapore’s Gao Ning in the opening match, Vietnam fought back with Nguyen Anh Tu overcoming Clarence Chew to draw the tie level.

Vietnam then secured a victory in the doubles due to a strong display from Dinh Quang Linh and Doan Ba Tuan Anh before Nguyen Anh Tu claimed the title win, triumphing over Pang Xue Jie to give Vietnam their first Men’s Team gold medal.

“It is a meaningful title for us,” stated a delighted Dinh Quang Linh. “We have waited to see gold again for eight years, since the last one that I won with Doan Kien Quoc in 2009.”

The success at the 2017 SEA Games has given coach Nguyen Nam Hai further confidence that Vietnamese table tennis has a bright future ahead, “We had never won this title, but now we have it. Vietnamese players can match up against the world’s high ranked opponents. I hope that the federation will support us more after this outstanding achievement, so that our players have the chance to sharpen their technique for bigger tournaments.”

“I believe that if we pay attention to the doubles events, we can vie for titles against leading athletes in Asia.”

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