A Vietnamese martial art is claiming its place beside karate and taekwondo, now that the Southeast Asian Games will allow athletes to compete in vovinam. German vovinam martial arts fight at the 2011 World Vovinam Championship The Southeast Asian Sports Council has approved the fighting category for the 2013 SEA Games, hosted by Myanmar. “After refusing to enlist vovinam at first, the council and the host country had second thoughts after being persuaded by WVF and the Vietnam Olympic Committee,” Vo Danh Hai, general secretary of the World Vovianam Federation, told Tuoi Tre in a phone call from Myanmar. Created in 1938 in Hanoi by Master Nguyen Loc, vovinam uses fighting techniques both with and without weapons and exploits an opponent’s momentum to counterattack. Along with other fighting sports, athletes will compete in vovinam in Nay Pyi Taw City. Vietnam has proposed 18 medals for the vovinam category: six for fighting (two weight levels for women and four for men), and 12 for performance. Vovinam made its debut in the SEA Games in Indonesia last year, when competitors vied for 14 medals. But it’s not yet a permanent sporting event, so lobbyists must go before the council each year for approval. Hai said Vietnam will help Myanmar with training trips and management in early 2013. The SEA Games 27 organisers and Myanmar Martial Arts Federation also agreed to hold an international vovinam championship two months before the games kick off.