Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Paintballers fight for the right to have fun | Look At Vietnam

Paintballers fight for the right to have fun

May 30, 2012
LookAtVietnam – Hiding behind a bamboo wall in the middle of a site pock-marked with piles of sand bags and empty 44-gallon drums, Nguyen Dieu Phuong silently watches someone moving on the other side of the battlefield. She motions to her comrades to advance on the enemy, but to keep under cover to avoid being shot.
Taking cover: The game offers a good chance for players to sharpen their senses and teamwork.
Bullets fly over her head, falling near the drums behind her, breaking into splashes of red paint.
She suddenly takes aim and fires at the figure who cries out, “Deadman!” and a man stands up and silently walks off the battlefield.
This is not a real battle or a military training exercise, it’s a paintball game at a newly established club in Ha Noi.
“I really sweat from crawling, running, hiding and attacking,” Phuong said after the game, wiping the sweat from her face with her sleeve.
“When the game starts I feel the stress and tensions of a soldier in battle but at the same time it’s really fun.”
Nguyen Huu Minh, a frequent player with his friends at weekends, said the game was good for physical training.
“It offers a good chance for players to sharpen their creativity, senses and teamwork,” he said. “It’s good to experience the role of a soldier for sometime in our life.”
Club managing member Do Manh Dung told Viet Nam News that the “battlefield” covered an area of 12,000sq.m, which could host up to 100 players at a time.
A game could be made up from four to dozens of players.
Dung said the game had attracted not only family members and friends but also colleagues at companies, as a team building activity, with an average throughput of 600 a day, though peak times were at weekends and holidays.
“The club has co-operated with the Ministry of National Defence to maintain safety at the site, through tight rules that cover the construction of the paint ‘bullets’ and protective clothing,” he said.
Group mentality: The game has attracted not only families and friends, but also groups of colleagues from companies as a team-building activity. — VNS File Photos
“The weakest part of the players when wearing their protective gear is the back of the neck. That’s why the participants are not allowed to shoot at the back of someone’s neck. Even at a distance of 3m, the players are encouraged to take the enemy alive.”
Dung said a normal player used at least 50 “bullets” in a battle, which lasted 45 minutes on average.
The club’s eight referees guided players on how to shoot, wear protection clothing, hide and attack as well as how to control the battle to keep it fair and safe.
The scenarios could include rescuing hostages, he said.
The game was introduced in Viet Nam in 2009. The Ha Noi Paintball Club, on Thang Long Highway, is the first of its kind in the north; there have been several others in HCM City and Nha Trang.
Vu Quang Huy, a retired soldier who played the game with his sons and friends, admitted it brought back memories and some of the tactics he was able to pass on to his sons, which he rarely could mention in daily life.
“I think some fighting strategies can be applied in solving daily problems,” he said. “That’s why the game is not only fun, it’s a place for the youth to gain problem-solving skills as well.”
Meanwhile, Ngo Thu Ha, a housewife, said she just hoped to lose some weight during the game.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News
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