HA NOI — Vietnamese athletes with disabilities are ready for the London Paralympics Games, to be held in London, England, from August 29 to September 9, and aim to bring home at least one medal.
"This is the third time Viet Nam have taken part in the Paralympics, however, it is first time a Vietnamese team has been strong enough to possibly gain its first medal at this event," said Vu The Phiet, deputy president and general secretary of the Viet Nam Paralympics Association.
Viet Nam have sent its largest delegation ever of 11 competitors, all of whom have met Paralympic qualifying standards thanks to their performances at various tournaments. This is four more than Viet Nam sent to the previous Games in Beijing, China, four years ago.
Among the 11 athletes, swimmer Vo Thanh Tung is a strong candidate for a medal after gaining four A standards in four different disciplines of men's 50m butterfly-S5, 50m freestyle-S5, 50m backstroke-S5 and 100m freestyle-S5 to compete in London.
At present, Tung is Asia's fastest swimmer in all these events. During a recent training course in Ireland, his coach said his personal best was close to the world championships' gold medal (32.27sec) result in the men's 50m freestyle-S5.
Nguyen Thi Hai, Cao Ngoc Hung and Trinh Cong Luan will compete in track-and-field, while Nguyen Thi Hong, Chau Hoang Tuyet Loan, Nguyen Binh An and Nguyen Van Phuc will take part in power-lifting. Vo Thanh Tung, Duong Thi Lan, Trinh Thi Bich Nhu and Nguyen Thanh Trung will participate in swimming.
The athletes underwent a three-week training course in Ireland from July 19 to August 9 before arriving in England for the Games.
Each gold, silver and bronze medalist at the Games will receive respective cash prizes of VND600 million (US$28,500), VND300 million ($14,300) and VND200 million ($9,500) from sponsors as encouragement and recognition of their efforts.
On Sunday, the organising body held the flag raising ceremony for four countries including Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Zambia and Panama. — VNS