HA NOI — Viet Nam has set its hopes on two tickets to this summer's London Olympics at the Asian Weightlifting Championships in Pyeongtaek, South Korea from April 22-30.
|Lift-off: Thach Kim Tuan will compete in the men's 56kg event at the Asian Weightlifting Championships in South Korea on April 22-30. The event will give him a chance to earn a ticket to the London Olympics this summer. — VNS File Photo
Under rules set by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), men's and women's teams who place in the top six in the team category will automatically receive a ticket to the London Games so Viet Nam will do its best to place both teams in their respective top six. Once official Olympic spots are secured, the team's training board and the weightlifting section of the National Sports Administration will select which athletes will compete in London.
"Vietnamese weight lifters have the ability to make it to London but to win an Olympic medal is another story entirely," said Do Dinh Khang, head of the wrestling and weightlifting section of the National Sports Administration.
"Under the IWF's rule, top countries such as China, North Korea and Uzbekistan who already have tickets to London after the recent world tourney are out of contention for additional tickets to the Games. As a result, Viet Nam will have more chances to earn tickets to London via this Asian tourney," Khang added.
In preparation for the event, the fourteen-member team has been training hard at the National Sports Centre in Ha Noi since early this year under the guidance of Bulgarian coach Deykov Diyan Yordanove.
The team includes the nation's top hopes such as Thach Kim Tuan, Tran Le Quoc Toan in the men's 56kg class and Nguyen Thi Thuy in the women's 53kg category, all have obtained remarkable achievements at international competitions in recent years.
"Both Tuan and Toan have the same opportunity to succeed in the upcoming Olympic qualifying round, but in terms of last year's achievement, Toan was better. The athlete with the better performance in South Korea will get the Olympic chance," said Yordanove.
Toan, 23, walked away with gold from the 26th SEA Games and pocketed a bronze medal at the World Weightlifting Championships in Paris last November. The 17-year-old Tuan won a gold medal at the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games and claimed one silver and two bronze at the World Junior Weightlifting Championships in Malaysia last year.
"I have only been back in training for a short time since my injury. I hope that with good practice, I will soon return to my previous weight limit of 285kg. I will also try my best to lift an additional 2-3kg at the Asian event where the competitive pressure will be very tense. This is a fair play between Tuan and me. Whoever gains the berth to this summer's Olympics will deserve it," said Toan.
On the women's side, Nguyen Thi Thuy is considered the front runner to represent Viet Nam in London.
Thuy has received a lot of support from the Ha Noi Sports Department in recent years and pocketed a bronze medal at her SEA Games debut in Indonesia last year.
The Asian event is the last opportunity for regional competitors, who have to earn a ticket to the Olympics. — VNS