Money issues have delayed the foundation of a fund intended to honor a talented Vietnamese swimmer and teach more kids to swim in a country where drowning deaths are among Asia's highest.
The Anh Vien Foundation, named after Vietnam’s top female swimmer Nguyen Thi Anh Vien, was unveiled by the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) in June 2015, after the 20-year-old stole the show at the 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
At the region’s biggest sporting event in Singapore, Anh Vien bagged eight gold medals and smashed eight records, becoming Southeast Asia’s best swimmer.
The foundation in her name would therefore help inspire more young swimmers to thrive in the regional and global arena, BIDV said at a meeting to discuss the plan with local sports authorities last year.
The fund will also sponsor programs to teach swimming at countrywide schools to reduce drownings in Vietnam, according to the lender.
Thirty-two children in Vietnam die from drowning every day, and the number of child drownings per year is as high as 11,665, according to a recent World Health Organization survey.
However, after nearly a year, the Anh Vien Foundation has yet to be established due to money shortage.
“It was kind of BIDV and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to come up with such meaningful idea, but they have failed to mobilize enough money to set up the fund,” a top official from the General Department of Sports and Physical Training told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
The founders have been unable to pool a required VND5 billion (US$223,214) minimum capital for the fund, according to the official.
“So it could be said that the fund remains in the process of establishment,” he added. “Once raising enough money, the founders will have to submit an official proposal to the Ministry of Home Affairs for approval.”
Tuoi Tre attempted to contact a BIDV representative but failed to have any official comment on the issue.
The lender had expected to raise VND7-10 billion (US$312,500-446,429) to officially set up the fund by the end of last year. The bank’s employees and executives had also donated a total of VND500 million ($22,321) in support of the fund.