Hanoi, Vietnam (December 2005)

From December 5 through 15, I spent time in Hanoi, Vietnam judging at The 8th World Wushu Championships. The Worlds come around once every two years, and this was the first time the International Wushu Federation implemented the new rules in this competition. As you can imagine, the experience was intense but very interesting.

Judges went through a grueling refresher course for the four days preceding the competition. The course culminated in an exam that determined our judging assignments. Out of roughly 27 judges, I was one of the five ``lucky'' judges selected for the C-group (difficulties). Because difficulties were new to the Worlds, this was a high-pressure assignment.

Just before the opening ceremonies, the judges squeezed in some time for sightseeing and shopping around Hanoi. First we visited Ho Chi Minh's memorial.

Walking toward the tomb

Standing with Chief Referee Xu Weijun in front of Dang Cong San Viet Nam Quang Vinh Muon Nam

Masked girl on a moped

Later that day we continued with shopping.

Judges haggle with merchant (left) over jewelry

``What are all these judges doing here?''

``They can't get me behind this moped!''

Welcome Banquet.

A musical performance

Traditional dance

At the party with translaters Mai Ly, Xuan, and Vinh Hang

Opening ceremonies.

Our police escort to the arena

The competition arena by day

Eve of the opening ceremonies

Just outside the arena

Xuan, Justin, and the Referees representative

Yes, this is a Taichi performance

And I was ``lucky'' enough to judge difficulties for all six barehand events. It was very busy for a while.

Action shot 1

Action shot 2

Waiting in the bullpen

In full uniform

A quick break to take pictures with the US Team

Ready for another judging run

We usually skimp on dinner because of the evening competition session. The judges return to the hotel afterward to eat something simple like pho or porridge. This time we had fried rice.

Good old fried rice

After the competition, Mai Ly took me on her scooter in search of some food outside the sheltered confines of Daewoo Hotel.

We went by scooter to get...

Bun Cha: Vermicelli and Pork

And it was good.