Vietnam wins first-ever gold medal
VIETNAMESE rejoiced yesterday after their country won its first-ever Olympic gold medal, a victory made all the more sweet by the fact that regional rival China was beaten along the way.
Hoang Xuan Vinh, a 41-year-old serving army colonel who first learned to shoot with AK47 rifles, made history in Rio overnight when a near-perfect final shot in the men’s 10-metre air pistol clinched him gold.
Vietnamese state media reported that Vinh would receive US$100,000 from the state on his return -- a handsome sum in a country where the average annual income is around $2100.
Vinh’s victory shunted Brazil’s Felipe Almeida Wu and China’s Pang Wei into second and third respectively, something that was seized on by jubilant Vietnamese.
“So proud! But the greatest happiness was that we won over China,” Nguyen Cao Ky Duyen, a Vietnamese music show host based in the US but popular in her homeland, wrote on Facebook.
“Vietnamese sport has begun a new chapter,” added Facebook user Nguyen Dat. “Defeating the Chinese athlete, hosts Brazil and the current South Korean champion. So convincing!”
“You are the pride of the nation and the people,” added reader Truong Tran Hoang Du, on the Tuoi Tre newspaper’s website.
Vietnam has shared an intense rivalry with its giant northern neighbour for centuries – an animosity that has been stoked in recent years by competing claims in the South China Sea.
Beijing lays claim to virtually all of the strategic waters, putting it at odds with regional neighbours the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan, which also have partial claims.
At least three Chinese nationals were killed in 2014 when rioting broke out in Vietnam after Beijing sent an oil rig into contested waters.
Last month information screens in major airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh were compromised by hackers who displayed anti-Vietnamese and Philippines slogans with regard to the South China Sea.
The attack came hours after a Chinese visitor to Vietnam complained that his passport was defaced with profanities by officials at Ho Chi Minh city airport.
Vietnam’s state media said Hoang Xuan Vinh learned how to shoot in the communist country’s military which he joined in 1991, initially practising on AK47 rifles.
“This victory came from the courageous spirit and the utmost determination of the athlete, his coaches and from key investment ahead of the 2016 Olympics,” Minister of Sports Nguyen Ngoc Thien said. – THE Pro Football Hall of Fame welcomed eight new members on August 6 in an emotional ceremony featuring a quarterback that played for two decades and the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl.
Quarterback Brett Favre, an NFL MVP three straight years beginning in 1995 and a Super Bowl winner, played 20 seasons and 302 games with four teams – the Atlanta Falcons, the Green Bay Packers, the New York Jets and the Minnesota Vikings.
He was chosen to play in 11 Pro Bowls and retired with league records for passing yards (71,838), touchdown passes (508), completions (6300) and attempts (10,169).
Favre also set playoff records for yards (5855), attempts (791), and completions (481).
The other headliner of the Hall of Fame class, which was announced in January, was former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy.
Dungy first coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team he turned around after being hired in 1996.
Before his arrival, Tampa Bay had suffered through 12 doubledigit losing seasons in 13 years. Under Dungy, they made the playoffs four times before he was fired after the 2001 season.
The Colts hired him just eight days later.
In seven seasons, they had 12 or more victories a half-dozen times and won a Super Bowl, making Dungy the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl. –