Defeating a world champion in her international debut performance, Vietnamese taekwondo artist Pham Thi Thu Hien yesterday won the championship title in the women’s 62kg event at the 27th Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar.
The 18-year-old woman from central Quang Nam Province displayed her stately and unruffled gait during competition and surpassed threatening rivals at her first international performance, surprising her coaches.
Hien beat 2011 world champion Rangsiya Nisaisom of Thailand 6-4 in the semifinals before surpassing Victoria of the host Myanmar 5-2 in the final game.
“I feigned deafness to keep myself from being influenced by the shouts of the host fans. I focused on my rival and found a way to knock her down,” Hien said.
Hien made a precise and powerful kick to the face of her rival in the second half, which gave her the advantage to advance to victory.
Hien is the daughter of a farming family of five brothers and sisters in Tam Ky Town. She moved far away from home to train in taekwondo when she was just 14 years old.
She said she was very sad and missed her family, but overcame it by devoting most of her time to training. Some days, she made a thousand of kicks to the training bag to relieve herself from the sorrows of homesickness.
Thu Hien now has the most powerful kick in Vietnam, thanks to her training habits.
Vietnamese sponsors gave a cash prize of VND15 million (US$721) to Hien for winning the title.