|Athlete To Thi Trang wins Vietnam’s first gold medal at SEA Games 31. (Photo: Minh Duc)
To Thi Trang defeated Myanmar's Su Khin Khin and teammate Vo Thi Thuy Duong, then lost to Thailand's Duangdara Kumlert before defeating Helen Aclopen of the Philippines to take first place.
“I’m proud of competing in the SEA Games for the first time and winning the first gold medal. I would like to express my special thanks to my teachers, my family, and everyone. I am so lucky to have been trained in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan which helped me a lot at this SEA Games. When I lost a match, I felt overwhelmed by the pressure. But I told myself to just try harder in the next match,” said Trang.
To Thi Trang was born in 1999 in Dong Anh district, Hanoi. She had practiced judo since she was 11 and only switched to kurash – a traditional kind of martial arts practiced in Central Asian countries - seven years ago.
“In the first two matches, she performed well, but lost in the third match. However, in the final match, Trang competed with her great determination and won the gold medal in the 48kg weight category. Trang has made great progress in training as well as in international competitions,” said Head coach of the national kurash team Nguyen Tuan Hoc.
|To Thi Trang (R) competes at SEA Games 31 (Photo: Hoa Nguyen)
Trang’s husband Dao Dai Hai talked about the difficulties and challenges that have faced Trang during her sports career.
“We have to sacrifice a lot. She is often far from home for training and preparing for different sports tournaments,” said Hai.
During her career, To Thi Trang has suffered multiple injuries, with a torn ligament being the most serious.
“Trang was in the hospital for a month. Many people advised her to quit but she continued because of her great passion for the sport. With encouragement from her coaches, she returned to training in August, 2020, and later won a silver medal at a national tournament. She was determined to train hard to prepare for this SEA Games,” said Hai.
Trang won a bronze medal in the 48kg category at the Asian kurash championship Tajikistan in March of this year. She also won a bronze for judo at the Asian Beach Games in 2016.