Olympic squad sets record
HA NOI — The Viet Nam sport team going to the Olympics has already set a record and it hasn't yet run a race or fought a duel.
|London calling: Swimmers Hoang Quy Phuoc (top) and Nguyen Thi Anh Vien have earned wildcard spots to compete at this summer's London Olympics. Viet Nam have grapped a record of 18 berths so far, a figure expected go higher. — File Photos
With 18 athletes, it's the biggest team in history from the country to attend the Games.
The number of athletes reached 18 after two wildcards were given to swimmers Hoang Quy Phuoc and Nguyen Thi Anh Vien recently and it's likely to go higher.
Both athletes have already reach the Olympic B standard in their events. Phuoc has twice achieved it in men's 100m butterfly (the B standard is 54.19sec). Vien made it three in the women's 100m backstroke, 200m backstroke and 200m medley.
In Sydney in 2000, Viet Nam took part with two athletes; four years later in Athens the number was five; in the latest event in Beijing there were eight in five sports.
National Sport Administration deputy head Lam Quang Thanh said Viet Nam may have another wildcard in walker Nguyen Thanh Ngung, whose best result (1hr 27min) was close to the B standard (1:22.30).
That depends on the result of the Asian All Star Athletics Meet later this month in Kazakhstan. If a Vietnamese athlete or athletes at the competition win a berth at the Olympics, Ngung won't get a wildcard.
Apart from swimming, Viet Nam will compete in London in rowing, weightlifting, taekwondo, judo, gymnastics, shooting, badminton, track-and-field and fencing.
Thanh said fencer Nguyen Tien Nhat will be Viet Nam's flag-bearer at the Olympic opening ceremony in London.
Carrying the flag is considered a great honour in any country and is traditionally given to famous athletes.
Nhat is the first fencer in Viet Nam's history to win an official berth at an Olympics. He is also taller than 1.8m, which is one of criteria for selection in Viet Nam. — VNS