Lao martial artists get a kick from Japanese assistance

Posted by samakomlao Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Local practitioners and teachers of aikido, judo and karate-do sports will have a second venue in which to practise their discipline next year.

A practice and performance hall (dojo) is being built at the Physical Education Teacher Training School (PETTS) at Thongpong village in Sikhottabong district.

The first venue for such sports was the Lao-Japan Budo Centre at Anou village, Chanthabouly district, currently in the second phase of construction.

The PETTS construction project begins from this month and will conclude in May, at a cost of about 758 million kip (US$88,495), which has been granted as aid from the Japanese government.

This school is the only one in the country focused solely on training physical education teachers, and has suffered from a shortage of proper facilities and equipment.

It is hoped that this project will help to rectify the situation.

A signing ceremony for the construction project was held in Vientiane on Wednesday, attended by PETTS Director, Mr Intong Leusinsay, and Japanese Ambassador to Laos , Mr Masaaki Miyashita.

Mr Miyashita said when it was built the facility would prove an important tool for trainee teachers' education.

He said that many Lao people were gaining more interest in a wide range of sports as a direct result of the upcoming 25th SEA Games to be held in Vientiane in December.

However, while an increasing number of Lao people were interested in physical pursuits, there was a general lack of trained educators in the field of physical education and training in the country, he said.

Mr Intong thanked the Japanese government and others cooperating and assisting PETTS development.

He said the indoor dojo at the teacher training school would be suitable for training and competition events in judo, karate-do and aikido and provide another alternative for martial artists.

The Japanese government provided about 19 billion kip (201,600,000 million yen) for the second phase of construction of the Lao-Japan Budo Centre.

The Lao SEA Games Organising Committee will hold the judo and karate-do events at the Vientiane-based centre.

The funds were used to build the Budo Centre, install electricity, water and air conditioning and provide equipment and clothing for judo and karatedo players.

In the first phase of construction, the Japanese government provided grant aid of about 37 billion kip (400 million yen) last December.

Construction of the Budo Centre began on December 10 last year, and is due for completion in October this year. It is being built by a consortium of the Japan-based Kanto Construction Co. Ltd and Sanpo International Corporation.

Judo events in the 25th SEA Games will comprise eight men's categories (55kg, 60kg, 66kg, 73kg, 81kg, 90kg, 100kg and over 100kg), while women are competing in the 45, 48, 52, 57, 63, 70, 78 and over 78kg categories.

Karatedo events will consist of male combatants in seven categories (55kg, 60kg, 65kg, 65kg, 70kg, 75kg, 80kg) and women fighters in four (48, 53, 60 and over 60kg).

At the 24th SEA Games in Thailand last year, the Lao judo team took home two gold, one silver and three bronze medals, while the karate-do team won a bronze.

By Sangkhomsay Bubphanouvong

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