HA NOI — Taekwondo martial artists have high hopes of winning medals at the Olympics after intensive training in South Korea.
|Ready to rumble: Taekwondo fighter Le Huynh Chau (right) hopes to win a medal at the London Games after intensive training in South Korea. — File Photo
"Now I believe Viet Nam can win a medal," said coach Ho Anh Tuan, when returning home after two months of training abroad.
Two Vietnamese martial art Olympians were offered a chance to train at the Kyung Hee University, one of four best taekwondo centres in the country, where they followed a standard programme applied for South Korean national team members.
"It was a challenge for our athletes. They were asked to undertake a great deal of exercise at an intense level. Meanwhile, the training discipline in South Korea is very strict, every athlete who did not complete their exercises would be punished," said Tuan.
Korean trainers also focused on improving the Vietnamese competitors' physical strength, which is their greatest weakness. Apart from training indoors, they were asked to take part in running on a mountain track every day.
They also had the chance to watch world leading South Korean athletes with a view to size up the challenges ahead in London.
"Before the course I considered the Olympics a high mountain. Now watching their improvement I think that they have a chance to be in the top three although it will also partly depend on the result of the draw," said Tuan.
"Obviously, winning a medal at the Olympics is very difficult and sometimes we also need luck to make it. But our athletes' skills have been improved a lot after these two months."
South Korean coach Nam Won-kang was also confident of the Vietnamese athletes after seeing their mastery of martial arts techniques.
The athletes, Le Huynh Chau and Chu Hoang Dieu Linh, leave for France today for more intensive training ahead of the London Olympics, which will kick off tomorrow.
They will practise together with the French team in Calais City, which has a similar climate and time zone to London.
At the Olympics, the taekwondo team is said to be Viet Nam's second medal favourite following the weightlifting squad.
The team will move to London on August 5. Taekwondo events will start three days later at the ExCel Centre.
The fighters are promised a reward of US$50,000 for a gold, $30,000 for a silver and $20,000 for a bronze, which are of the biggest bonuses ever for Vietnamese Olympic participants. — VNS