By Vu Duc - The Saigon Times Daily
HCMC – Gymnast athlete Phan Thi Ha Thanh has been selected the Best Athlete of 2011 followed by swimmer Hoang Quy Phuoc and grandmaster Le Quang Liem.
The Vietnamese gymnastic-artistic team showed their excellent performance at the 26th Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia in November when they brought home the largest number of gold medals of 11. Thanh, along with fellow gymnast athlete Do Thi Ngan Thuong, were all nominated for Vietnam’s top 10 outstanding athletes.
Thanh took home three golds at the Games. The Haiphong born gymnast also became the first Vietnamese gymnast to grab a bronze medal at the 2011 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo, Japan, and won a berth for the 2012 London Olympics.
Thanh beat swimmer Hoang Quy Phuoc to the title as she picked up 1,425 points, while Phuoc, who grasped two gold medals in the 26th SEA Games in the men’s 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly events, came second with 1,386 points. The Danang-born swimmer also broke SEA Games record in the men’s 100m butterfly event.
Meanwhile, grandmaster Le Quang Liem, who secured two golds in the men’s blindfold chess pairings and individual rapid chess events at the Games, came third with 945 points.
The other winners in the top 10 were track and field athlete Truong Thanh Hang (857points), gymnast athlete Do Thi Ngan Thuong (420 points), shooter Ha Minh Thanh (406 points), track and field athlete Duong Thi Viet Anh (384 points), weightlifter Tran Le Quoc Toan (344 points), taekwondo athlete Chu Hoang Dieu Linh (257) and taekwondo athlete Le Huynh Chau (235).
For contributing to the gymnastic-artistic team’s great victory last year, coach Do Thuy Giang from Hanoi was voted Coach of the Year 2011 with 588 points, beating swimming head coach Dang Anh Tuan from An Giang Province and track and field coach Ho Thi Tu Tam from Danang Sports Training Center, who won second and third places with 413 and 310 points respectively.
Meanwhile, shooting coach Nguyen Thi Nhung from the General Department of Sports and Physical Training earned fourth position with 183 points, followed by taekwondo coach Ho Anh Tuan from HCMC with 177 points.
The best handicapped athlete award went to swimmer Vo Thanh Tung, who broke two Asian records at the 26th ASEAN Para Games, and his trainer Dong Quoc Cuong won the best coach for handicapped athletes award.
Hundreds of sports experts and journalists from Hanoi, HCMC and Danang voted last week for the top 10 athletes, top five coaches, top five para-athletes and top three para-athletes’ coaches.
The annual vote was organized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, the Vietnam Fund for Supporting Young Talent and The Thao Viet Nam (Vietnam Sports) newspaper.