Vietnam wins first ever Olympic gold medal Rio 2016
Hoang Xuan Vinh is expected to receive $100,000 from the state on returning to Vietnam – a figure nearly 50 per cent greater than the country’s average national income
Vietnam has won its first gold medal since it began competing in the Olympic Games more than 60 years ago, after it beat host country Brazil and rival China in the men’s 10-metre air pistol competition.
Hoang Xuan Vinh, a 41 year-old army colonel, made history in Rio by racking up a score of 202.5 in 20 shots and firing a near bullseye to take gold.
Vinh is expected to receive $100,000 from the state on returning to Vietnam, AFP reports, citing the country’s state media. A figure nearly 50 per cent greater than the country’s average national income, which is around $2,100.
He finished 0.4 of a point ahead of Brazil’s Felipe Wu, a 24-year-old who is competing in his first Olympics. China’s Pang Wei took the bronze, while defending Olympic champion Jin Jong-oh of South Korea finished fifth.
Vinh’s victory over Wei has dominated media reports in Vietnam, which has shared a rivalry with China for centuries and it has become increasingly tense over recent years over competing claims to the South China Sea.
Beijing lays claim to the majority of the strategic waters, clashing with the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan, which also have rival claims.
Last month, information screens at major airports in Hanoi and Ho Chin Minh were attacked by hackers who displayed anti-Vietnamese and Philippines slogans referencing the South China Sea.
Nguyen Cao Ky Duyen, a Vietnamese music show host based in the US, said over Facebook: “So proud! But the greatest happiness was that we won over China!”. Facebook user Nguyan Dat added: “Vietnamese sport has begun a new chapter. Defeating the Chinese athlete, hosts Brazil and the current South Korean champion.”
According to Vietnam’s state media, Vinh learned how to shoot by practising on AK47 rifles, while a member of the country’s military, which he joined in 1991.
“I’m very lucky, it’s the first gold medal in Vietnam’s history, I feel very lucky, thank you everybody,” said Vinh at a press conference, the Vietnamese Thanhnien News reports.
“Making this gold medal is a life memory, I’ll never forget this. Because [it is the] first time making a gold medal for Vietnam.
“The Brazilian shooter was very fast and stronger, but I think only ‘try, try, try’. On the last shot I don’t think gold or silver. I think only ‘try’.”
Minister of Sports Nguyen Ngoc Thien said: “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.”
Vinh’s gold is the third Olympic medal won by Vietnam since it began competing in the Games in 1952. Its first medal was in 2000 when Taekwondo artist Tran Hieu Ngan won silver in Sydney and its second was in 2008 when weightlifter Hoang Anh Tuan won silver in Beijing.