Vietnam won the World Vovinam Federation (WVVF)'s second World Vovinam Championships after bagging 20 gold, four silver and two bronze medals on July 30.

Iran came second with five golds, two silvers and three bronze medals, while France finished third with four golds, three silvers, and 11 bronze medals.

The Vietnam-style martial arts event, featured 300 athletes and officials from 21 countries and territories, competing in 40 events of performance and combat at HCM City 's Phu Tho Gymnasium.

The WVVF also announced France as the host nation of the third world vovinam championships.

"I think Vietnam had a successful tournament and I discovered the development of Vovinam in Vietnam. I think Vovinam will continue growing," Bui Xuan Yves, Vice President of French Karate Federation.

"We decided to organise the third World Vovinam Championships because we want to develop the martial art in France . Vovinam is a martial art with many unique techniques and human values," he said.

Vo Danh Hai, general secretary of WVVF, said: "We will continue to develop courses as well as send masters to help develop vovinam with 43 members of the WVVF."

"The techniques will continue being standardised to make the martial art an official sport not only in Southeast Asian Games, but at continental and global-level sports events."

Vovinam is becoming more and more popular as it continues to gain ground worldwide.

The second World Vovinam Championship saw a rise in participation of countries, from 14 in 2009 to 22 this year.

This year the tournament has also welcomed two new countries from Africa for the first time, with Morocco and Algeria sending a total of nearly 30 martial artists.

Russia sent some of the youngest martial artists of the tournament.

"I have practised the martial art for only one year and I like it very much. It is a new sport, but it is not difficult for me to learn, except for the leg-attack techniques," said Strunin Nikita, 15, who learned vovinam from his father.

Russian Tihon Serdobinsev, 13, said that he wanted to learn vovinam and often found it difficult to learn techniques for performance events.

Nikita's father, Strunin Igor Vladimirovich, 42, said that he taught his son as well as other young martial artists and would continue to promote the martial arts in his hometown.

"But one of the obstacles I am facing is that there is not enough material on vovinam in Russian. And taking trips to Vietnam cost us a pretty penny," he said.

The number of martial artists in Italy , where vovinam is popular, is also on the rise.

"There are about 800 people in Italy who practise vovinam in different clubs, and more and more people are joining these clubs," said Michele Garofalo, head of the Italian delegation.

Italy will also host the European Vovinam Championships early next year.

Southeast Asian countries like Cambodia, Indonesia and Laos, which have been learning vovinam only for a few years, sent many martial artists to the tournament.

France team's head coach, Le Huu Nghia, a French-Vietnamese, said that the French Vovinam Federation currently has 500 martial artists, but a large number of other martial artists have not joined the federation.

"We are working out plans to develop vovinam in France both in quantity and quality," Nghia said./.