|Flying start: Nguyen Tien Minh hopes to win a title at his final SEA Games in Singapore. — File Photo
HANOI (VNS) — Viet Nam are taking part in the 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games with their best badminton players who are expected to defend their two bronze medals in Singapore.
A strong team of 12 members have arrived in Singapore and are ready to compete in seven events in men's and women's singles, doubles, teams, and mixed doubles.
Veteran Nguyen Tien Minh and rising star Vu Thi Trang are expected to win medals in men's and women's singles categories, respectively.
"SEA Games has always been an important competition for Viet Nam's badminton. We do not have much chance in front of Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, which are very strong teams and at levels much higher than us. Therefore, our aim is to play our best to win a medal," said Le Thanh Ha, head of Badminton Department of the National Sports Administration.
Ha noted that Viet Nam's successful result at the recent Sudirman Cup acted as a strong force and good warmup for the team that had been preparing for the Games. Vietnamese athletes have won a berth to compete in Group II of next year's Cup.
Minh is world No 27 and has not won any SEA Games title in his career, not even in his peak period, when he was among the world's top 10. His best result so far remains two bronze medals at the 24th Games in 2007 and last Games.
This year, Minh will not get to play his major rival Lee Chong Wei who has received a doping ban. It is good news for Minh who is playing his last SEA Games.
"Even if Lee plays or not, I always try my best in every match. It could be my last Games, so I want to grab a title before saying goodbye; it will be great," said Minh.
Trang is seeded No 48 in the world. She has more local expectations on her shoulders, following her remarkable achievements in the past two years as she reached her career's highest point in terms of world ranking. This has also been the best female ranking in Viet Nam's badminton history.
Trang and her partner Nguyen Thi Sen in women's doubles pool are also hoped to take a medal.
"The two girls make a perfect combine. If they can keep up their performance, a berth in the final is possible," Ha noted.
The badminton competition will start tomorrow with team events and will finish on June 16 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. — VNS