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This young Algerian woman has strong passion for Vietnamese martial arts

This young Algerian woman has strong passion for Vietnamese martial arts

Saturday, December 02, 2023, 15:57 GMT+7
This young Algerian woman has strong passion for Vietnamese martial arts
ElKherraz Hadjer smiles happily as he takes the stage to take the oath on behalf of foreign athletes at the opening ceremony of the 7th Vovinam World Championship on the afternoon of November 24, 2023, at Phu Tho Indoor Sports Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Quang Thinh / Tuoi Tre

ElKherraz Hadjer, a two-time world champion from Algeria, was given the honor of representing foreign athletes at the 7th Vovinam World Championships. She took an oath during the opening ceremony on the afternoon of November 24, at the Phu Tho Indoor Sports Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City.

It is an unforgettable moment for ElKherraz Hadjer, who has trained diligently in Vovinam for years.

Dreams come true

ElKherraz Hadjer felt an overwhelming sense of nervousness as she experienced for the first time the formal and meaningful atmosphere of the opening ceremony for the tournament in the country where Vovinam, the martial art she has dedicated herself to, originated.

The young woman began her journey in Vovinam in 2007, coinciding with the creation of the Algerian Vovinam Federation (FAVV), which belongs to the Algerian Ministry of Youth and Sports. 

At the time, she could never have imagined that one day she would have the opportunity to come to Vietnam and make a solemn pledge in front of the international Vovinam community, as she did on the afternoon of November 24.

However, the young woman, born in 1995, was chosen for an important role at the opening ceremony of the 2023 Vovinam World Cup. 

ElKherraz Hadjer has been meticulously preparing for this moment, which symbolizes the culmination of her years of dedication and hard work in her martial arts career.

Expressing her feelings, ElKherraz said "It feels like I was dreaming and then I woke up and realized that the dream has already come true. I have been looking forward to the day when I can come to Vietnam, compete, and connect with other Vovinam practitioners.

"Building friendships with people who share a passion for martial arts has been a long-held wish. In my mind's eye, Vietnam is a land of beauty and harmony," ElKherraz told the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

ElKherraz’s teammates find it remarkably interesting that she has attracted the attention of the media. When asked by reporters why she was chosen, all of the Algerian Vovinam athletes replied: “Because she is the most famous for this kind of martial arts in Africa.”

This is true. With two gold medals at the Vovinam World Championships in 2015 and 2019, Elkherraz is considered one of Algeria's most outstanding Vovinam athletes. 

The young woman with the slender figure and constant smile makes an impression on others with her exceptionally beautiful strikes.

Trying her best as a breadwinner

At the 7th Vovinam World Championship, ElKherraz took part in three categories, including “the quintessence of techniques with the double-edged sword”, “training with the double-edged sword”, and “basic techniques for female competitors”.

The promising Vovinam athlete from Algeria shows her determination to go for gold, after she only won the bronze medal in 2017.

ElKherraz wants to achieve great success with vovinam and fulfill her dreams to become the breadwinner of her family. 

She is the eldest of the five siblings. ElKherraz’s father passed away in 2011 after his retirement. His death was a life-changing event for the young woman’s martial arts career.

ElKherraz’s mother, who works as a cleaner, was incredibly sad at the time and the family of six faced many challenges.

“I always remind myself to be strong,” Elkharraz said. She is studying both biology and Vovinam courses to become a master of martial arts.

After the death of her father, Elkharraz became the head of the household. All of her four younger sisters do not want to choose martial arts as their main profession. 

ElKherraz said that thanks to her acquired Vovinam skills, she could become a martial arts trainer for the local police. She also works as an assistant teacher at martial arts classes for children with the aim of promoting Vovinam in Algeria.

“Winning has an indescribable aftertaste that encourages me to overcome the obstacles on the road to success. However, it is not easy to keep myself in perfect condition all the time,” said Elkherraz.

ElKherraz is nurturing her dream of becoming an outstanding coach for vivonam's Algerian national team. 

Motivated by this dream, she is working towards securing the most memorable achievement: winning a gold medal at the 7th Vovinam World Championships in the place where Vovinam was originally created.

Vovinam is honored to be national intangible heritage

On the afternoon of November 24, the 7th Vovinam World Championship was officially opened, marking a historic event for the sport.

A total of 650 officials, referees, coaches, and athletes from 35 countries and territories came together to take part in this prestigious competition.

This championship is the largest since its inception, both in terms of participating countries/territories and the number of participants.

Athletes will compete for victory in 44 sets of medals, comprising 26 Vovinam techniques and 18 counterweight techniques.

At the opening ceremony, Vovinam was recognized as part of Vietnam's intangible cultural heritage.

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Quang Thinh - Kim Thoa / Tuoi Tre News

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