- Vietnam clinched its first-ever Olympic gold medal at Rio
- A 41-year-old army colonel won gold in the men’s 10-meter air pistol event
- Vietnamese rejoiced not only for their frist Olympic gold, but for defeating China
For many Vietnamese, winning their first-ever gold in the Olympic is as significant as defeating China — at least in the field of sports.
Vietnam has secured its first Olympic gold medal in any sport via the near flawless performance of Hoang Xuan Vinh in the men’s 10-meter air pistol event.
At the same time, the Asian communist nation was proud not only of Vinh’s historic achievement, but also for the fact that he outlasted a Chinese athlete to emerge as champion.
Vinh is a 41-year-old army colonel who clinched the gold medal with a near-perfect final shot to defeat Brazil’s Felipe Almeida Wu. Relegated to third place was China’s Pang Wei; a 2008 Olympic gold medalist.
“So proud! But the greatest happiness was that we won over China,” wrote Nguyen Cao Ky Duyen, a US-based Vietnamese music show host who remains popular in her homeland, on Facebook.
A reader on the local news website Tuoi Tre added: “You are the pride of the nation and the people.”
In an interview, Vinh remains humble about his incredible feat and said he was just “very lucky”.
“Making this gold medal is a life memory, never forget this. Because (it is the) first time making a gold medal for Vietnam,” he said during a press conference.
The athlete will be receiving reward money upon his return to his country, state media has reported.
“This victory came from the courageous spirit and the utmost determination of the athlete, his coaches and from key investment ahead of the 2016 Olympics,” said Minister of Sports Nguyen Ngoc Thien in a statement.
The Vietnamese shooter previously won gold at the Asian Championships in 2012 in Nanchang, as well as the ISSF World Cup in 2013 in Changwon.
The final standings, according to NBC Olympics, are as follows:
1st – Hoang Xuan Vinh (Vietnam)
2nd -Felipe Almeida Wu (Brazil)
3rd – Pang Wei (China)
4th – Juraj Tuzinsky (Slovakia)
5th – Jin Jong-oh (South Korea)
6th – Giuseppe Giordano (Italy)
7th – Vladimir Gontcharov (Russia)
8th – Jitu Rai (India)