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The National Sport of Vietnam is Da Cau.

Da Cau is a traditional and unique sport, combining elements of soccer and badminton, creating a lively and entertaining experience.

To learn more about sports culture in Vietnam, read our article about the most popular sports in Vietnam.


#1 History of Da Cau

  • 5th Century: Da Cau, also known as “foot shuttlecock,” is believed to have existed in Vietnam, with roots dating back to the 5th century under the Liang Dynasty.
  • 11th – 18th Century: Da Cau flourished during the Ly Dynasty and was popular among Vietnamese royalty, with kings such as Ly Thai To and Ly Thanh Tong known to have enjoyed the game.
  • 20th Century: Da Cau began gaining international recognition, with the establishment of the International Shuttlecock Federation (ISF) in 1999, which organizes world championships and promotes the sport globally.

#2 Culture and Traditions

Da Cau holds a significant place in Vietnam’s cultural identity, seen as a symbol of the nation’s heritage. The sport promotes physical activity and mental well-being while fostering teamwork and skill development among participants.

The game is often played during festivals, rituals, and events in Vietnam, such as TαΊΏt (Lunar New Year) celebrations, where communities come together, and both young and old enjoy playing Da Cau. Competitions are also organized at various levels, including school tournaments and national championships.

Da Cau’s elegance and coordination required to play make it a captivating spectacle for spectators, further enriching Vietnam’s vibrant cultural landscape.

#3 How it Works: Rules, Gameplay and Equipment

πŸ“• Rules & Gameplay

  • Players: Da Cau can be played in singles, doubles, or team formats, with up to four players on each side.
  • Objective: The goal is to keep the shuttlecock in the air, using body parts (except hands) to propel it over a net or between teams, scoring points when opponents are unable to return the shuttlecock.
  • Scoring: A point is scored when the shuttlecock touches the ground, falls outside the marked boundaries, or when the opposing team commits a fault.
  • Rallies: Each rally starts with a serve, followed by continuous back-and-forth play until a point is scored.
  • Match Points: Matches are typically played in a best-of-three games format, with each game played to 21 points, using rally-point scoring system.

βš™οΈ Equipment & Gear

  • Shuttlecock: A weighted, conical object with a solid base and attached feathers, made from durable materials such as metal and plastic.
  • Net: A standard badminton net, measuring approximately 5 feet in height and 20 feet in width, is used to divide the court.
  • Footwear: Light, flexible shoes with good grip to provide comfort and support during gameplay.
  • Playing Area: Da Cau can be played indoors or outdoors on a smooth, level surface similar to a badminton or tennis court.

#4 Modern Development of Da Cau

In contemporary times, Da Cau has evolved and adapted to the modern world, transcending recreational boundaries and becoming an internationally recognized sport. Its inclusion in international competitions, such as the World Shuttlecock Championships, has sparked interest and encouraged participants from other countries to embrace this ancient game.

Technological advancements in sports equipment have played a significant role in Da Cau’s development, with innovations in shuttlecock materials and designs improving performance and durability. This has allowed the sport to be played at higher levels and enjoy a wider audience reach.

In recent decades, the Vietnamese government and sports organizations have made efforts to promote Da Cau as an essential part of the country’s sporting and cultural identity, supporting local and regional competitions and engaging young people to participate in this unique and historical sport.

#5 Da Cau and the Olympics

While Da Cau has not yet been featured as an official sport in the Olympic Games, its inclusion in other international competitions such as the World Shuttlecock Championships and the Asian Shuttlecock Championships has provided a worldwide platform for the sport. The International Shuttlecock Federation (ISF) continues to lobby for the sport’s Olympic inclusion, actively promoting Da Cau as a competitive yet culturally significant sport.

Da Cau’s participation in global sports events such as the Asian Beach Games and the Southeast Asian Games has positively impacted its recognition, paving the way for future opportunities to join the Olympic roster. These events have introduced Da Cau to a broader audience and have highlighted its potential as a dynamic and unique sporting event.

#6 Famous Athletes and Achievements

  1. Le Phuoc Thanh: A prominent Vietnamese Da Cau player, who has consistently showcased exceptional performances in various international championships and has contributed to the promotion of Da Cau globally.
  2. Nguyen Hong Anh: An accomplished female Da Cau athlete, representing Vietnam in multiple international tournaments and holding a record as a multi-time gold medalist in the Southeast Asian Games.
  3. Tran Thanh Hai: An influential figure in Da Cau, known for his outstanding achievements in both national and international competitions, bringing pride to Vietnam and inspiring a new generation of athletes.

#7 Where to watch Da Cau

  • Vietnamese Television (VTV) and local stations: National and regional broadcasters in Vietnam often provide coverage of major Da Cau tournaments, championships, and exhibitions.
  • Social Media & Online Streams: International Shuttlecock Federation (ISF) and tournament organizers often share live streaming links or post highlight videos of competitions on platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and official websites.
  • Live in Vietnam: To catch the excitement of Da Cau matches in person, visit popular venues such as Hanoi’s Thong Nhat Park, Ho Chi Minh City’s September 23 Park, and Da Nang’s Pham Van Dong Beach, where tournaments and friendly games are often held.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning β€˜real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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