With most local sports professionals having to struggle for life after their career ends, Vietnam National University (VNU), Hanoi, is slated to offer a special undergrad program for them starting the next academic year.
Many Vietnamese athletes usually have to put education aside to take up professional sports.
As their career comes to an end, these sportspeople not only have to make the hard decision to retire but also face a new challenge – what to do for a living when they can no longer play sports.
While athletes acknowledge that they should learn other skills and knowledge, especially academic profession, rather than just their sporting prowess, to become well-rounded people, there has been no supporting program for such transition in Vietnam.
The problem also discouraged young talents from taking the road to pursue professional sports, fearing they would have no chance to return to education after retirement.
But that was before Wednesday, when the VNU-Hanoi announced the opening of a B.A. program for athletic talents from the 2019-20 school year.
The program will be designed in the direction that academic schedules are flexible for each athlete according to their time and sports activities, VnExpress reported.
Classes can be organized in groups or the model of one student and one teacher, with online training programs are applied for some subjects. A special admission procedure will also be employed.
The University of Economics, a member of VNU-Hanoi, is assigned to implement the project in 2019, with the first degree possibly being Business Administration.
The General Department of Sporting and Physical Training will soon contact VNU-Hanoi to learn about the training program and is ready to support any information to prepare for the project, the department’s director of Personnel Division Tan Le Minh told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
Vietnamese athletes who want to pursue education in the demise of their career so far have only one option - to enroll in sports and physical training universities managed by the Ministry of Culture and Information. This means they still have to stick with sports, even though some want to learn other professionals.
What’s worse is that a very small percentage of top Vietnamese athletes graduating from these sports-oriented education institutions managed to secure a job in sports training and management, while choosing a career in other fields is also very difficult as their knowledge are limited.
Coach Nguyen Dinh Cuong, head of athletics under the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the northern province of Ninh Binh, said that he was very pleased to hear this information.
“If young people know that they can be trained for a degree in economics, technology, foreign languages, they will not be too anxious to pursue professional sports,” Cuong said.
As a talented athlete who graduated from the northern province of Bac Ninh’s Sports and Physical Training University, Cuong said that he met a lot of difficulties when he moved to the field of sports management.
“I knew nothing but sports. So I had to study foreign languages, computer and economics while working,” the medal winner recalled.
“I think that the BA training program of VNU-Hanoi was not only an opportunity for athletes but also for coaches and sports managers like me to have the opportunity to learn more,” Cuong said.
“The dream of many athletes after retirement might not be to become a sports coach, but to work in such fields as economics, science and technology,” said Truong Minh Sang, the prominent name who won many national and international medals for Vietnamese gymnastics over the past decade.
“There is nothing greater than a university that makes it possible for talented athletes to realize those dreams,” the former athlete complimented.