Last week, Vietnam played host to the Asia Open Pickleball Championships, welcoming over 400 athletes, including some familiar names in Vietnamese tennis. The tournament, held in Ho Chi Minh City, saw the likes of Trinh Linh Giang, Sophia Huynh Tran Ngoc Nhi, and Truong Vinh Hien compete against 190 international players from 19 countries.

With a total prize pool of US$30,000, the event was a significant milestone for pickleball in Vietnam, according to tournament director Truong Quang Vu. The sport has seen a growing following in the country since its introduction in 2018, especially among professional tennis and table tennis players.

One of the highlights of the tournament was the participation of 19-year-old Divyanshu Kataria from India. Kataria, an avid pickleball player for over three years, praised the caliber of the tournament, noting its rigorous competition and impeccable organization. He also emphasized the sport’s rising popularity in Asia, hoping that more players from the region would be drawn to it.

Former professional tennis player Luong Tien Giang, who has transitioned to pickleball, shared his experience with the sport, citing its accessibility and family-friendly nature. “Pickleball is a great choice for all ages and skill levels,” he said.

Truong Quang Vu is optimistic about the future of pickleball in Vietnam, noting its rapid development and potential as a community sport and school program. He also revealed plans for pickleball’s inclusion in future Southeast Asian Games editions, with the ultimate goal of achieving official recognition at the Olympic level.

A player in action at the Asia Open Pickleball Championships – Vietnam 2024. Source: Thanh Dinh / Tuoi Tre
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