|Coach Nguyễn Hữu Thắng has been asked to bring Việt Nam to the finals of the Southeast Asian Games’ football event. The SEA Games are the most important sports event of 2017 for Việt Nam. — Photo kenhthethao.vn|Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Following a successful year in sports in 2016, Việt Nam is gearing up for even better results next year, according to the National Sports Administration.
The top priority will be the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Malaysia where 38 sports will be represented.
“We target one of top three positions at the Games. We will focus on the sports listed on the Olympic Games roster and those in the Asian Games schedule,” said Trần Đức Phấn, deputy head of the Administration.
“Athletes will be strongly supported and they will be in intensive training since the beginning of 2017. The key athletes who have potential to win medals will follow specific programmes (to make sure of their chances),” Phấn said.
But the number of medals could fall short because Malaysia is decreasing or not holding at all some of Việt Nam’s strong sports such as wrestling, rowing and weightlifting.
Football is always a key event in the Games.
The Việt Nam Football Federation (VFF) is set to send both men’s and women’s teams to the final matches at the Malaysian competition. While the women plan to take their top position back, the men, represented by the U22 squad, will seek their first-ever title in the regional biennial sports festival.
“(Men’s) football should be looking forward to its highest goal. It is really a challenge as Thailand are always the No 1 in the region, but we should keep hoping and do our best,” said Phấn.
When signing a contract with head coach Nguyễn Đức Thắng in March, the VFF also tasked him with winning a gold medal at the 29th Games. Thắng has eight months to prepare for this task. — VNS