The International Pickleball Federation (IPF) facilitated an introductory course on Officiating and Coaching pickleball in Cần Thơ on December 13 and 14, 2023.
The course was organized by the Cần Thơ Pickleball Club and the Vietnam Pickleball Association (VPA). Cần Thơ is a city in southern Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region, set on the southern bank of the Hau River. It is 80 miles southwest of Ho Chi Minh City.
Over 40 Participants
Continuing the Vietnamese pickleball theme, we featured the Lam family in an article earlier this week.
Karen Long, Secretary of the IPF, reports that the IPF and the VPA were responsible for sponsoring the course, which was directed by Ms. Tanyat Tran, 2nd Vice President, IPF.
Ms. Tran oversees the development, training, and certification of referees, line judges, tournament directors, coaches, and equipment certification in Vietnam, as well as the application of global pickleball rules.
Although the organizing committee didn’t have long to prepare the course, it attracted over 40 participants, including lecturers and staff from Cần Thơ and Nam Cần Thơ University, pickleball members of the Cần Thơ Pickleball Club and the Nam Cần Thơ University Pickleball Club.
An Important Stepping Stone
The main aim of the training was to train human resources staff to be referees capable of officiating at pickleball tournaments sanctioned by the IPF.
The training also looked to help recreational players and athletes understand the rules correctly.
This part of the training is an important stepping stone in the future introduction of the sport into all levels of Vietnamese schools and for it to be recognized as an official sport nationwide – “Quality is Honor!”
Definitely Caught On
Although it has not been officially verified, it is reported that pickleball entered Vietnam in 2018.
According to Sài Gòn Giải Phóng, it has definitely caught on, though. In Ho Chi Minh City alone, hundreds of enthusiasts flock to train at venues such as the Labor Cultural Palace, Phu Tho Sports Center, Tran Nao Pickleball Court, and Thu Duc Club.
There are approximately 20 tournaments annually that bring together players from all three main regions (Northern Vietnam, Central Vietnam, and Southern Vietnam).
Pickleball And Friends Vietnam
Pickleball and Friends Vietnam was founded in June 2023, and it currently stands as the first and only professional club in Vietnam that the Asian Pickleball Association officially recognizes.
The Ky Hoa II Sports Complex in District 10 is where former celebrated athletes from sports like tennis and table tennis take part in intensive training sessions three times a week, gearing up for domestic and international tournaments.
Most of them are prominent Vietnamese athletes, including the Ly brothers (Ly Minh Triet and Ly Minh Tan), Trinh Van Toan, Mai Thu Ha, Tran Thi Kim Loi, Le Ba Thanh Xuan, Nguyen Thai Binh Duong, and notably Truong Quang Vu, the former Head Coach of the Vietnamese national tennis team.
They have adapted their familiar moves like smashes, spins, drop shots, and volleys and taken them to the pickleball court.
Vu Thanh Duong, President of Pickleball and Friends Vietnam, takes great pride in what the club has achieved in less than a month. The progress was clear as they secured one gold medal in a tournament in Indonesia at the end of September. They won two silvers and one bronze medal at the Asian Pickleball Games, held in Taipei in early October.
“Even though our experience with pickleball is relatively short, the skills and accomplishments of Vietnamese players are not far behind those of powerhouses like India, Taiwan (China), and the Philippines, especially within the age group of 35 to 50.
“The club’s initial success is a testament to the unity among its members. We are all working together to elevate Pickleball in Vietnam,” Duong shared.
Striving To Improve Reach
Always striving to improve Pickleball’s reach and public image within the country, Pickleball and Friends Vietnam is busy mapping out its activities for 2024. Regarded as a pioneering club in Vietnam, it is already making a mark in the international arena, attracting the interest of potential sponsors.
The leadership team expressed their mission statement further by saying, “Pickleball is relatively new in Vietnam and is currently considered more as a game than a recognized sport. In the near future, the club will continue to self-fund its tournament participation and work towards creating a community around the sport to sustain our activities.
“We hope to garner attention from leaders at all levels, including the Vietnam Sports Administration. Our first goal is to establish the Vietnam Pickleball Federation and subsequently integrate this sport into sports festival, then establish an official national tournament,” expressed the leadership of Pickleball and Friends Vietnam.
After witnessing the impressive performance of Vietnamese pickleball players at the 2023 Asian Championship, Hogan Lai, President of the Asian Pickleball Association, said, “I did not anticipate that in just a few months of training, they would demonstrate such remarkable skills and exceptional competitive spirit.
“I am hopeful that Vietnam’s pickleball community will soon establish an association to contribute to the sport’s development in Asia.”
The Asian Pickleball Association provides valuable support by sharing tournament information, updating rule changes, and facilitating the organization of international events in Vietnam, with Pickleball and Friends Vietnam playing a crucial intermediary role.
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