logo top

‘Ganh River Otter’ sets SEA Games record

29 May 2022 | 15:43 | Football

“Mom and Dad, I got the gold medal” Nguyen Huy Hoang screams in the swimming pool of the Aquatic Centre in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). In August 2017, “River Otter” participated in the Southeast Asian Games for the first time and won a gold medal, breaking the record of Lin Guangyi’s predecessors.

Five years later, Ruan Huihuang won a total of 8 gold medals in this arena. In the home convention alone, he has brought as many as 5 gold medals to the Vietnamese sports team, including only Quah Jing Wen (Singapore). Nguyen Huy Hoang is one of four archetypal athletes at the 31st Southeast Asian Games.

Nguyen Huy Hoang: 'River Otter' becomes SEA Games record holder - 1

Nguyen Huy Hoang is one of four archetypal athletes at the 31st Southeast Asian Games.

river otter

A section of the Gianh River flowing through Thanh Tien Village (Tien Hoa Commune, Xuan Hua District, Quang Binh Province) is a nursery for stars born in 2000. Nguyen Huy Hoang has been wading with his mother to collect seaweed since he was a child. Feed the fish. Thanks to him, he has learned to swim since he was 3 years old. This is how the media later gave Ruan Huihuang the nickname “Jiang Otter”.

It was the same river that brought this skinny 11-year-old boy to professional swimming. It was a summer vacation, and Ruan Huihuang was hanging out with friends when he heard the announcement of the athlete recruiting competition by the river. Signed up for entertainment, didn’t expect him to win the job, and started his journey away from home.

Nguyen Huy Hoang went to Dong Hoi, went to Ho Chi Minh City, and then went to Can Tho. Each time they move back and forth a little bit, but it’s also progress for the Gan River Otter. Coming to the West meant he became a national player.

Nguyen Huy Hoang: 'River Otter' becomes SEA Games record holder - 2

Huy Hoang broke 2 records at the 31st Southeast Asian Games.

The harsh course, sometimes swimming more than ten kilometers a day, is worse than nostalgia. “I miss my parents”After winning his first gold medal at the 29th SEA Games, Ruan Huihuang admitted that he can only go home once or twice a year, and there are only a handful of days he can rest with his family.

The fishermen born in 2000 also do not have enough money to visit their children far away. On the day Huy Hoang broke the SEA Games record in Malaysia, the whole family gathered to watch TV on a cushion in the middle of the first-class living room. Five years later, his parents took the bus from Quang Binh to Hanoi to witness the moment their son stood on the podium to accept the award.

Southeast Asian Games record holder

In 2015, Ruan Huihuang won 5 gold medals at the Southeast Asian Youth Swimming Championships. At the age of 17, Nguyen Huy Hoang broke the SEA Games record by entering the arena for the first time. He finished first in the 1,500-meter freestyle with a time of 15:20.10. Arriving at the second finish line of the lane opposite the pool is Lin Guangyi, who holds the old record.

Two months ago, Lin Guangyi and Ruan Huihuang were at the center of controversy for their participation in the 29th Southeast Asian Games. Vietnam Swimming suddenly had three outstanding long-distance talents who had to compete against each other to win. Take a place in the 1,500m freestyle. Huy Hoang achieved a time of 15 minutes and 22 seconds, equivalent to a new record at the Southeast Asian Games at the time.

The moment when Lam Quang Il and Nguyen Huanhuang hugged while wearing the national flag and singing the national anthem on the podium, was the iconic image of the Vietnamese swimming team at that time. That was a milestone that marked the transition between the two champions. Lin Guangyi then withdrew from the competition and turned to triathlon.

Nguyen Huy Hoang: 'River Otter' becomes SEA Games record holder - 3

Nguyen Huy Hoang, who won his first SEA Games gold medal in 2017, hugs his teammates on the podium as senior Lam Quang Nhat accepts the medal.

“I practice every day and try to get up. I have to work hard, work hard, keep trying!”, Nguyen Huy Hoang once shared. At that time, the 17-year-old “Jiang Shui Otter” was still very embarrassed and shy in an interview. However, this is what he boldly said without hesitation.

The gold medal in the SEA Games is no longer his top goal every time he enters the pool. Huy Hoang wants to break records, he wants to reach Olympic A-level standards. you did it.

In Jakarta (Indonesia) 2018, Nguyen Huy Hoang became the first Vietnamese athlete in history to win a silver medal in the ASIAD swimming event. This is a medal as precious as gold, because “Gan River Otter” is second only to the world number one Chinese star Sun Yang.

Sea Games 31 Domestically, Nguyen Huy Hoang served as the flag bearer for the opening ceremony of the Vietnamese sports delegation. On the closing day, the stage of My Dinh Indoor Athletics Palace (Hanoi) honored the swimmer born in 2000 with 5 gold medals and 2 records – one of the 4 best athletes of the conference.