Former Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Manh Cam
How do you view the role of golf in Vietnam’s development and its integration with the world?
Vietnam is rapidly integrating with the rest of the world, so there is a need to integrate everything, including sport. As a sport. Golf today has become means of interaction, of contributing to attract commercial partners, entrepreneurs, investment partners, to creat opportunities for us to understand our partners and to approach other world leaders that contribute to the development of an area and a nation.
So someone called Golf is the sport of integration – it is plau¬sible and grounded persuasive. Some people hold the opinion that golf is a luxurious sport reserved for the rich and has no use for the gener-al community. What is your opinion?
Personally, I do not agree with this opinion. I officially brought the sport to Vietnam and helped it grow here after Vietnam joined ASEAN and normalised its relationships with the rest of the world back in 1996. Back then, few Vietnamese people were aware of the sport.
If I remember correctly, in the early ’90s, there was only Dong Mo golf course where players were mostly diplomats of foreign embassies in Hanoi and foreign experts working in Vietnam. I was the first Vietnamese senior leader to play golf and as such faced much criticism. At that time only former Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet sup¬ported me. However, after that many cristicisers turned to support me.
It’s unexpected that Golf in Vietnam has grown rapidly along with the country’s fast development. Most of provinces now have golf course, some own 3-4 ones. Golf players include from teenage to the old, from state officials to business leaders, from amateurs to professional athlestics.
Especially while in the world, golfers often play to find the best, in Vietnam, Golf is mean of implementing charity policies that makes the sport more humanly. As an example, we can look at the Swing For The Kids charity golf tour-nament organised by Vietnam Investment Review. After ten tournaments, thousands of students have been provided with scholarships enabling them to continue their studies thanks to the gen¬erous support of the business communi¬ty. The fund also sponsored the building of bridge for children in mountainous regions to go to school, while schools across the country have been supported to build or upgrade their facilities.
Every year. Swing for the Kids sees the keen participation of golfers, in¬cluding senior government officials, diplomats and businesspeople. Each type of golfer attending the tourna¬ment contributes to providing a brighter future for Vietnamese children.
How do you view the contribution of VIR’s Swing For The Kids golf charity tournament to the promotion of edu¬cation nationally?
I highly admire the initiative shown by Editor-in-chief of Vietnam Investment Review, Nguyen Anh Tuan and his team in organising Swing for the kids to help fund education for disadvantaged stu¬dents. The organisation of the event has proved very effective.
I am very happy to have been hon- ourary chairman of the tournament since its establishment. Swing for the Kids is helping young people facing hardship to realise their academic dreams.
Over the nine tournaments, the event has awarded over 12,000 scholarships to excellent students from disadvantaged circumstances while also helping upgrade numerous training and education facilities in 38 cities and provinces nationwide.
I strongly support the participation of businesses in CSR activities, especially in the field of education promotion. Pro¬viding funding for training and education is the most important basic charity activity as this action determines the fu¬ture of a country.
Such charity programmes aimed at disadvantaged children, including the high achieving students supported by VIR’s Swing For the Kids, play an im¬portant role in the development of the whole country.
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The article "Godfather of Golf" was originally published on http://www.vir.com.vn/godfather-of-golf.html