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Vietnam’s first ‘quidditch’ cup brings to life Harry Potter’s fictional broomstick-mounted sport

Monday, November 11, 2019, 14:17 GMT+7
Vietnam’s first ‘quidditch’ cup brings to life Harry Potter’s fictional broomstick-mounted sport
The Vietnamese and foreign players pose at the maiden Vietnam Quidditch Cup organized by the Vietnam Quidditch Association in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, November 10, 2019 in this provided photo.

The Vietnamese and foreign players knelt at the ready, six a side, staring down their opponents from across a verdant field before racing to the center line where four balls were placed as they kicked off their match in Vietnam’s inaugural 'quidditch' tournament.

Quidditch is a niche sport inspired by the fictional game played in J.K. Rowling’s famous 'Harry Potter' novels, combining elements of handball, dodgeball, and rugby.

The sport gained its first popularity on college campuses across the United States in the mid-2000s before expanding globally, according to South China Morning Post.

In Vietnam, the quidditch community has been established for more than four years, with a total of nearly 100 players in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

Vietnam has participated and achieved great rankings in global quidditch competitions, including fourth place at the Asia Quidditch Cup 2019 in South Korea and 15th position at the 2018 International Quidditch Association World Cup in Italy, according to the Vietnam Quidditch Association (VQA).

Two teams greet before a match in the maiden Vietnam Quidditch Cup organized by the Vietnam Quidditch Association  in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, November 10, 2019 in this provided photo

Two teams greet before a match at the maiden Vietnam Quidditch Cup organized by the Vietnam Quidditch Association in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, November 10, 2019 in this provided photo.

Six players of a team race towards the center line at a match in the maiden Vietnam Quidditch Cup organized by the Vietnam Quidditch Association  in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, November 10, 2019. Photo: Bao Anh / Tuoi Tre News

Six players of a team race toward the center line in a match at the maiden Vietnam Quidditch Cup organized by the Vietnam Quidditch Association in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, November 10, 2019. Photo: Bao Anh / Tuoi Tre News

The maiden VQA-organized quidditch cup kicked off at the main campus of Ly Tu Trong College in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, on Sunday morning.

A total of 60 players of different nationalities formed three mix-gendered teams to compete in six games under a round-robin format during the day-long event.

“I feel happy to play such a new sport, which is beneficial to the players in terms of both physical training and strategic thinking,” Bao, who had practiced quidditch in Ho Chi Minh City for eight months prior to the tournament, told Tuoi Tre News in Sunday’s competition.

“[In quidditch,] teamwork and tactics matter just as much as physical strength,” Bao said.

According to Bao, although people may have a weird look at quidditch as a sport at first sight, they will come to find it interesting if they actually play it.

A team discuss before a match in the maiden Vietnam Quidditch Cup organized by the Vietnam Quidditch Association  in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, November 10, 2019 in this provided photo

A team discuss before a match at the maiden Vietnam Quidditch Cup organized by the Vietnam Quidditch Association in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, November 10, 2019 in this provided photo.

Players fight for a 'snitch' during a match in the maiden Vietnam Quidditch Cup organized by the Vietnam Quidditch Association  in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, November 10, 2019. Photo: Bao Anh / Tuoi Tre News

Players fight for a 'snitch' during a match at the maiden Vietnam Quidditch Cup organized by the Vietnam Quidditch Association in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, November 10, 2019. Photo: Bao Anh / Tuoi Tre News

Toku, a young quidditch player from Vietnam who opted to go by his nickname, told Tuoi Tre News that one of quidditch’s biggest draws is its progressive attitude toward gender issues and the LGBTQ community.

“The rule of the sport requires that teams field no more than four players identifying as the same gender, and no positions are restricted by sex,” Toku explained.

“Female players may complement male players with agility and mental dexterity.”

Andrew, a young Malaysian office worker who has eight years of experience in quidditch and came to Ho Chi Minh City with his Japanese friend, Jack, to participate in the Vietnamese quidditch cup, shared the same opinion.

Two 'beaters' try to throw 'bludgers' at each other during a match in the maiden Vietnam Quidditch Cup organized by the Vietnam Quidditch Association  in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, November 10, 2019 in this provided photo

Two 'beaters' try to throw 'bludgers' at each other during a match at the maiden Vietnam Quidditch Cup organized by the Vietnam Quidditch Association in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, November 10, 2019 in this provided photo.

Players fight for a 'snitch' during a match in the maiden Vietnam Quidditch Cup organized by the Vietnam Quidditch Association  in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, November 10, 2019. Photo: Bao Anh / Tuoi Tre News

Players fight for a 'snitch' during a match at the maiden Vietnam Quidditch Cup organized by the Vietnam Quidditch Association in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, November 10, 2019. Photo: Bao Anh / Tuoi Tre News

Andrew said that he just likes the nature of the sport, how it allows guys, girls, and different genders to engage in the game together as one team.

Andrew and Jack both said that they have been able to grow a network of friends around the world thanks to quidditch.

VQA co-founder Hiep Nguyen admitted to Tuoi Tre News that quidditch has rarely set a local sporting standing in Vietnam and there are occasional difficulties in attracting and retaining players.

However, Hiep affirmed his passion for quidditch as well as his belief in the growth of the sport and the Vietnam Quidditch Association in the future.

He revealed that a Vietnamese team will compete at a quidditch friendly in the United States next year.

Players shake hand after a match in the maiden Vietnam Quidditch Cup organized by the Vietnam Quidditch Association  in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, November 10, 2019. Photo: Bao Anh / Tuoi Tre News

Players shake hands after a match at the maiden Vietnam Quidditch Cup organized by the Vietnam Quidditch Association in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, November 10, 2019. Photo: Bao Anh / Tuoi Tre News

The winning team poses for a photo at the maiden Vietnam Quidditch Cup organized by the Vietnam Quidditch Association  in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, November 10, 2019 in this provided photo

The winning team pose for a photo at the maiden Vietnam Quidditch Cup organized by the Vietnam Quidditch Association in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, November 10, 2019 in this provided photo.

Players shake hand after a match in the maiden Vietnam Quidditch Cup organized by the Vietnam Quidditch Association  in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, November 10, 2019. Photo: Bao Anh / Tuoi Tre News

Players shake hands after a match at the maiden Vietnam Quidditch Cup organized by the Vietnam Quidditch Association in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, November 10, 2019. Photo: Bao Anh / Tuoi Tre News

Players shake hand after a match in the maiden Vietnam Quidditch Cup organized by the Vietnam Quidditch Association  in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, November 10, 2019. Photo: Bao Anh / Tuoi Tre News

Players shake hands after a match at the maiden Vietnam Quidditch Cup organized by the Vietnam Quidditch Association in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, November 10, 2019. Photo: Bao Anh / Tuoi Tre News

How to play quidditch

The players:

Chaser: Each team has three chasers. They score goals by throwing or kicking quaffles through hoops.

Beater: Two to a team, the beaters throw bludgers to distract their opponents.

Keeper: Much like other sports, the one keeper on the team acts like a goalie trying to prevent chasers on the opposite team from scoring.

Seeker: The team’s sole seeker tries to catch the snitch, which is worth 30 points if they succeed. Catching the snitch also ends the game.

Snitch runner: The neutral snitch runner carries the snitch and tries to avoid both teams’ seekers.

The equipment:

Quaffle: A volleyball that is used by chasers to score points.

Bludger: A slightly deflated dodgeball used by the beaters that is thrown at other players. Players hit with a bludger must drop any balls they are carrying, dismount from their broom and head back to their team’s hoops to remount.

Snitch: A tennis ball in a sock attached to the shorts of the snitch runner. It is released in the 18th minute of the game and is worth 30 points if caught by a seeker.

Hoop: Each team has a set of three raised hoops on their side of the field. Teams receive 10 points for each quaffle thrown through one of the opposing team’s hoops.

Broom: Players are required to keep a plastic pipe, referred to as the broom, between their legs throughout the game.

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Bao Anh / Tuoi Tre News

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