April, 17 2014 10:29:00

Marksmen take aim for top prize at Asian Games

Straight shooter: Hoang Xuan Vinh celebrates after winning his gold medal at the ISSF World Cup Rifle and Pistol World Cup Stage in the US. Vinh will be a key member of the Viet Nam team at the upcoming ASIAD in South Korea. — Photo ISSF/DallaDea

HA NOI  (VNS) — Coach Nguyen Thi Nhung has confirmed that her shooting team are confident of winning their first ever gold medal at the upcoming Asian Games (ASIAD) in South Korea.

"We are determined and confident about this target. We know who we are, what to do and how to win," said Nhung.

The coach has her reasons to be upbeat. One of her key athletes, Hoang Xuan Vinh, won a title and set a record at a World Cup tournament earlier this month in the US.

It was his second World Cup gold after the first he grabbed in South Korea last year.

Vinh is an expert in the pistol event, and he won his gold and record in the 10m air pistol pool.

The London Olympian also finished fourth in the 50m pistol at the US tournament.

He is currently the best marksman in Viet Nam, and ranked second in Asia in his category.

"Vinh has gradually perfected his technique through training and competitions. His poor mentality in big competitions has improved a lot."

Ha Minh Thanh also has his eyes set on gold after taking the silver medal in the 25m rapid pistol event four years ago at the last ASIAD in Guangzhou, China.

His personal best of 589 points is better than the Beijing Olympics' gold medal score and only two points off the world record.

Thanh is a member of the Vietnamese team who won seven titles at the 27th Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar last December.

He was also successful at a Southeast Asian Shooting Association (SEASA) tournament with a gold in the individual 25m centrefire event, scoring 585 points and equaling the tournament record set in 2006.

Although the soldier has been struggling for form, his coach remains confident.

"It takes a long time for any athlete to reach that level," said Nhung, referring to Thanh's 589 points.

"The score shows his potential and advanced skills. He is a talent. His problem is impatience. We will wait until he finds his best," the coach added.

Vinh, Thanh and other marksmen including Le Thi Hoang Ngoc, Tran Quoc Cuong, Nguyen Thanh Dat and Nguyen Minh Chau have received strong support from the Shooting Federation and the Sports Administration.

In the next few months, the team will participate in World Cup tournaments in Slovakia and China. They will also defend their team title at the 38th SEASA event in Singapore in August. The World Championships in Spain in September will be their last test before they shoot in South Korea.

The 17th ASIAD will kick off in Incheon City in September, and the shooting event will be held at the Dream Park Stadium from September 20 to October 1. — VNS

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