HA NOI — Vietnamese weightlifter Tran Le Quoc Toan has had his chances of claiming an Olympic medal boosted, following the news that tough rivals China will only be sending one man to compete in the men's 56kg event.
He has registered to lift 292kg, the highest of his 18 competitors. His main rival, China's Wu Jingbiao, has set a mark of 280kg. He will also face stiff competition from Valentin Hristov from Azerbaijan, Jadi Setiadi from Indonesia, and Sergio Armando Rada Rodriguez from Colombia.
Although registering the highest level at the Games, Toan's best competitive result until now is 280kg at the 26th Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia in 2011. In the Asian zone Olympic qualifying round in South Korea in April, the 23-year-old succeeded with a total weight of 279kg. In order to win a medal in this event, Toan will need a minimum weight level of 285kg. This is also his best result during recent training courses in Bulgaria and France.
Meanwhile, Wu retained his world title by lifting a combined 292kg at the World Weightlifting Championships in France last year.
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Vietnamese weightlifter Hoang Anh Tuan took a silver medal with a lift of 290kg, two less than gold medallist Long Qingquan from China.
The London Olympics will see the participation of another Vietnamese weightlifter. Nguyen Thi Thuy will compete in the women's 53kg event. She has registered a total weight level of 200kg.
The athletes can change their weight levels before July 26. — VNS