The Hanoian outstripped strong contenders in Female Athlete of the Year voting, including runner Quach Thi Lan and cyclist Nguyen Thi That.
This was the second time in a row she took the award. The 26-year-old won a gold medal at the Asian Games (ASIAD) in Indonesia.
“Last year when I accepted the award I promised to win the Asian Games gold,” said Thao on stage. “And I did it.”
|Midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai is Male Athlete of the Year|
“It is really a great honor to have a chance to stand here and be recognized for what I have tried my best to do through the year,” she said. “To achieve such success I have to say a big ‘thank you’ to my coach Nguyen Manh Hieu and my former coach Nguyen Trong Ho, who did not work with me but always takes care of me as a manager.”
The Male Athlete of the Year prize went to talented young footballer Nguyen Quang Hai.
Hai played a key role in Vietnam’s silver medal at the Asian U23 Football Championship, its fourth place finish in the ASIAD and the famous AFF Cup victory.
He was the country’s best footballer of the year and the best player in the AFF Cup at the age of 21.
“I am happy because I have contributed my labour to the success of the national football team in 2018,” Hai said. “I hope that people will continue supporting us so that we can bring home more and more victories.”
Hai and four teammates also represented the national team to accept the award for the Team of the Year.
Defender Do Duy Manh received the Image of the Year award. After Vietnam lost to Uzbekistan in the last second of the U23 Championship, Manh placed the national flag on top of a snow pile, rising up the Vietnamese spirit.
It was the fourth edition of the event which is considered the ’Oscars of Vietnamese sports’. Unlike other awards which highlighted top 10 athletes, the Victory Cup honored athletes in separate categories.
This year, there were new classes for Foreign Coach of the year and Teammates of the Year.
With his brilliant success with the national football squads, Korean Park Hang-seo was the top choice for the coaching award.
Park did accept his award in person as he is in his hometown for a month of rest after a busy year.
He sent his ’thank you’ to Vietnamese people for the award, saying that in fact it was for the whole team, players, coaches and staff.
Teammates of the Year went to four women on the rowing team who won the first gold medal for Vietnam at the ASIAD.
Young Athlete of the Year went to swimmer Nguyen Huy Hoang, who pocketed one silver and one bronze at the ASIAD after winning a gold medal at the Youth Olympics in Argentina.
“Some years ago I watch Nguyen Thi Anh Vien win this award,” Hoang said. “I asked myself to do the same as her, and this year I am here. Thank you for voting for me. I will have to work harder in the coming years.”
The Athlete with Disabilities of the Year award honored swimmer Vo Thanh Tung.
“It is the third time I am nominated and this time I won,” Tung said. “People recognized my labor under the strong support of my family and managers. The award will be a strong push for not only me but also for every athlete to a reach higher level in their career.”
The Coach of the Year title went to coach Nguyen Manh Hieu while former footballer Le The Tho was presented a Lifetime Achievement award.