|Game changers: Vietnamese athletes with disabilities at the sending-off ceremony for the Asian Para-Games in Incheon, South Korea. — VNA/VNS Photo Quoc Khanh
HA NOI (VNS) — Vietnamese athletes with disabilities are expected to perform better at the Asian Para-Games which kicks off in Incheon, South Korea beginning October 18.
The Para-Games is a one-week event parallel to the just-completed Asian Games and is considered the Paralympics qualifying round. Athletes who achieve record results here will automatically advance to the Rio Paralympics in 2016.
The Vietnamese delegation will leave on October 13 for the Games, where they will meet about 4,500 athletes from 41 countries.
Speaking at the sending-off ceremony here yesterday, Vu The Phiet, general secretary of the Viet Nam Paralympic Association, said 45 athletes would be representing Viet Nam in six of the 23 sporting events: track-and-field and swimming, as well as badminton, bowling, powerlifting and table tennis.
"There have never been any targets set for our athletes with disabilities. Taking part in all competitions, they are always encouraged to exceed what they have achieved in practice because it is everything we want from them, not the gold, silver or bronze," said Phiet.
The general secretary expressed the belief that his delegation would exceed their performance in the Para-Games in Guangzhou four years ago.
"In 2010, we won three gold medals. I expect my athletes to exceed that result based on their careful preparations and recent achievements," he added.
The athletes were summoned for training in various domestic and international courses since March. This year, Phiet said, athletes in powerlifting and swimming would shoulder the task of winning gold medals.
Powerlifter Le Van Cong is expected to shine in the men's 49kg category. He set the Asian record of 180kg that earned him a silver medal at the world championships in Dubai last April.
Swimmer Do Thanh Hai, the Asian record holder in
the men's 50m breaststroke, won four gold medals at last year's Southeast Asian Games, which were held in Myanmar.
Other athletes who could win gold medals include couple Cao Ngoc Hung and Nguyen
Thi Hai in athletics. Both have set world records at regional competitions early this year.
Swimmer Vo Thanh Tung is expected to defend his title in the men's 100m breaststroke that he won four years ago. — VNS