Last update: 17:05 | 14/05/2018
The Asian Games (Asiad) is seen as the focus of Vietnamese sport in 2018. With the goal of winning three to four gold medals, the sport sector is frantically making all preparations needed, aiming towards a successful Games in Indonesia.
Weightlifter Thach Kim Tuan (second from left) is one of Vietnam's gold medal hopes at the upcoming Asiad.
According to Tran Duc Phan, Deputy Director of the General Department of Sports and Physical Training, Vietnam will field a delegation of around 200 athletes to compete in 23-26 events (with 200 disciplines) at the upcoming Asiad. It is a difficult task to secure three to four gold medals, but not impossible, he said.
Looking towards the 18th Asiad, Vietnamese sport has clearly identified its key events, including swimming, track and field, weightlifting, shooting, and gymnastics, while other teams, such as karate, wushu, and pencak silat will strive to achieve the best possible results.
Vietnam’s title hopes will be put on Nguyen Thi Ngoan (karate), Duong Thuy Vi (wushu), Bui Thi Thu Thao and Le Tu Chinh (track and field), Thach Kim Tuan and Trinh Van Vinh (weightlifting), Nguyen Thi Anh Vien (swimming), Nguyen Thi That (cycling), and Hoang Xuan Vinh (shooting).
At present, a number of athletes who have obtained key investment are undergoing long-term training courses overseas.
After shining brightly at the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in 2017, with eight individual gold medals, Vietnam’s no. 1 swimmer, Nguyen Thi Anh Vien, has departed for a long-term training course in the United States in preparation for the 2018 Asiad mission. Vien is joined by 16-year-old Nguyen Huu Kim Son, who won the men’s 400m medley competition at last year’s SEA Games. They are the two most outstanding faces of Vietnamese swimming in this year’s Asiad.
Following Anh Vien, the “queen of Vietnamese athletics” Le Tu Chinh, the 100m and 200m dash SEA Games champion, has also arrived in the US for a long-term training course since February 2018.
Nguyen Thi That, the “golden girl” of Vietnamese cycling, is undergoing a training course in Switzerland. The An Giang-born athlete finished as the runner-up at the French cycling championship on March 13, before claiming the overall yellow jersey at the Grand Prix of Crevoisier 2018 in Switzerland 13 days later.
In weightlifting, the fact that a number of lifters from powerful nations in the sport will possibly be banned from the 2018 Asiad has opened up opportunities for the Vietnamese competitors to vie for gold medals. As planned, seven Vietnamese weightlifters, including Tran Le Quoc Toan, Trinh Van Vinh, Nguyen Tuan Anh, Dinh Xuan Hoang, Vuong Thi Huyen, Nguyen Thi Thuy, and Hoang Thi Duyen will be provided with a two-month training course in China, starting from this May 20.
Meanwhile, as part of their preparations for the Asiad campaign, Vietnam’s men competed in the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Halmstad, Sweden, from April 29 to May 2. During the tournament, the Vietnamese players, including Dinh Quang Linh, Nguyen Anh Tu, and Doan Ba Tuan Anh, performed exceptionally, defeating Saudi Arabia, Finland, and Israel, before losing to Lithuania in the final match. The championship was considered an ideal opportunity for Vietnam’s leading players to learn from the experience of the world-leading competitors, aiming to sharpen their skills in service of the Asiad. After the world competition, Vietnam’s table tennis team will leave for a training course in Hungary this month.
The 2018 Asiad is scheduled to open in Jakarta, Indonesia, on August 18. At the 2014 Games in Incheon, the Republic of Korea, Vietnamese sport only managed to secure one gold medal thanks to the brilliance of “wushu queen” Duong Thuy Vi.
After four years of changing investment directions, with special priority given to the Olympic events, Vietnamese sport has recorded a number of significant results so far.
In weightlifting, Thach Kim Tuan and Trinh Van Vinh are the highly anticipated athletes. Following the success at the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Art Games, Thach Kim Tuan established a glorious milestone for Vietnam as he exceptionally swept all three gold medals of the men’s 56kg category at the IWF World Championships 2017, in Anaheim, the United States. Meanwhile, Trinh Van Vinh was also crowned the gold medalist in the men’s 62kg category.
Concerning track and field, long jumper Bui Thi Thu Thao has affirmed her no. 1 position in Asia. Thao is currently the reigning Asian champion with a distance of 6.2 metres, 0.48 metre farther from her performance at the 29th SEA Games in 2017. In the triple jump event, Vietnam’s Vu Thi Men is ranked second in Asia with a distance of 14.15 metres achieved last year, just behind a Kazakh athlete. If maintaining that stable form, Men is fully able to compete for the top honour at the upcoming Asiad.
Sprinter Le Tu Chinh is also expected to make a surprise in Indonesia this August. She is currently standing at tenth place in the Asian 100m dash ranking with 11.47 seconds, just .17 seconds behind the Indian leader, Dutee Chand. During the recent training period, Chinh clocked a time of below 11 seconds a number of times. Regarding the 200m dash category, the Vietnamese star is the no. 6 in Asia with 23.32 seconds, while the no. 1 athlete recorded a time of 22.81 seconds. After the US training trip, Tu Chinh is quite capable of competing against opponents on the Asiad track.
As for taekwondo, on April 17, the Asian Taekwondo Union (ATU) announced that this martial art will be among the official events at the 2018 Asiad. This is good news for taekwondo fighters as a whole, and to Vietnamese artist Ho Thi Kim Ngan in particular. After securing a ticket to the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, Ngan successfully defended her under-49kg title at the World Junior Taekwondo Championships in Tunisia on April 11. The 17-year-old girl is a young talent of Vietnamese taekwondo, and is expected to achieve great feats at the upcoming Asiad.