First gold medal of 2023 goes to fencing team hinh anh 1Vietnamese fencers pose with the medals won at the Southeast Asian Fencing Championship which is ongoing in Malaysia. (Photo: Fencing Vietnam)
Hanoi 9 (VNS/VNA) - Vietnam won their first medals of the 2023 at the Southeast Asian Fencing Championship organised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Phung Khanh Linh overcame her teammate Le Minh Hang in the women's sabre final on January 5 to take the first gold for Vietnam.

Earlier, Nguyen Thi Thu Phuong earned a silver in the women's foil final after losing to Lozada Wilhelmina of the Philippines. Nguyen Phuoc Den also took a silver as he was defeated by Filipino Jose Noelito Jr. in the men's epee final.

Three bronzes were won by Pham Thi Huyen in the women's sabre, and Pham Duc Trong and Dang Tuan Anh in the men's epee.

"All the best fencers are sent to Kuala Lumpur for the championship, which is also considered as a pre-32nd SEA Games event," said coach Pham Anh Tuan.

Vietnam used to be the best fencing team in the region before they lost their No. 1 place to Singapore in the 31st Games in Hanoi last May.

In the coming days, other athletes will take part in the tournament, among them, multi-time SEA Games champions Vu Thanh An and Nguyen Tien Nhat.

"I have trained hard and focused totally on this tournament, leaving all personal problems behind. It is a big lesson to me and I will never let it happen again. I will put the national duty first and try harder to improve my level," said An, who was dismissed from the national team after fighting with a teammate in October.

An, who won a gold medal from the National Sports Games in December, was called back to the team for this event.

The regional championship is held from January 5 to 14. Vietnam has sent 47 athletes competing in all categories for individuals and teams./.