Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — After a year of success, Vietnamese sportsmen are headed for a busy 2018 with a target of at least three gold medals at the most important event, Asian Games (ASIAD) in Indonesia.
At a recent meet with sports managers and officials, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyễn Ngọc Thiện said, “I have heard reports about plans to train young talents to improve Việt Nam’s results in international competitions. However, the most important task now is to focus on ASIAD 2018 where we have to win at least three gold medals — as many as what we did in 2006. We could do it in the past so why not now!”
According to Thiện, the first step of the plan is to select the most outstanding athletes for the Games.
“There is no time to think. We have to do it now. We have athletes who have already reached the world level. I want managers, coaches and experts to sit down together to build a plan, which will be popularised for public opinion before the final decision of sending athletes to the best venues and destinations for training and competition. Through these activities, we could find the best ones for the Games. It is not a difficult job,” Thiện said.
At the upcoming tournament in August, Việt Nam plans to take part in about 20 of the 40 sports. Karate, wushu and pencak silat are the sports in which players stand a chance to win gold medals.
The other sports, which are believed to have athletes on top of the podium, are weightlifting, tracks-and-field, swimming and shooting.
“More than 400 athletes and 85 coaches will be summoned in five different centres for the Games. Apart from taking part in domestic competitions, key athletes will be sent abroad for international events. We also plan to hire 15 foreign trainers for some sports, which are believed to have a chance of bringing gold medals,” said Hoàng Quốc Vinh, head of the Elite Sports Department 1 of the National Sports Administration.
“This year, we will also apply science and technology of biomedicine, psychology-education and solutions of nutrition and fitness recovery in the training activities. The best training equipment and competition clothes will be given to all national training centres so that athletes can enjoy the best environment and conditions,” he said.
According to Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, chief of the Secretariat of the Athletics Department, apart from martial arts such as karate and wushu, which brought Việt Nam gold medals in the previous Games, Vietnamese runners could vie for gold in several categories.
“This year, the athletics department has been given a VNĐ4-billion (US$179,000) budget. The money will be spent on key athletes to reach our target. We have high hopes in the women’s 400m and 400m hurdle and especially the women’s long jump event,” Hùng said.
The tracks-and-field team had an outstanding year in 2017 with two Asian championships’ titles for runner Nguyễn Thị Huyền in the women’s 400m hurdle and for Bùi Thị Thu Thảo in the women’s long jump. The duo also contributed four medals to Việt Nam’s record of 17 golds at the 29th SEA Games in Malaysia.
Hùng said there were plans to send athletes to train abroad. Runners such as Quách Công Lịch, Quách Thị Lan and Lê Tú Chinh will enjoy their courses in the US.
Head of the Weightlifting Department, Đỗ Đình Kháng said his lifters Thạch Kim Tuấn and Trịnh Văn Vinh, world champions in the men’s 56-kg and 62-kg categories, respectively, would receive special focus to win ASIAD golds. Another hope could be Trần Thị Mỹ Dung, who took a silver in the Asian Championship 2017.
Shooting coach Nguyễn Thị Nhung said there were plans of training Olympic winner Hoàng Xuân Vinh so that he could regain his top form in 2018.
Nhung, general secretary of the Shooting Department, said these activities were aimed at helping world No 1 Vinh grab his first-ever ASIAD title that he regrettably missed in the previous Games.
In gymnastics, Asian and SEA Games champion Lê Thanh Tùng is expected to make a break. His senior teammates Phạm Phước Hưng, Đặng Nam and Đinh Phương Thành are working hard to change the colour of their two bronze medals that they won at the Incheon Games four years ago.
In swimming, trio Nguyễn Thị Ánh Viên, Nguyễn Huy Hoàng and Nguyễn Hữu Kim Sơn will have to try their best for a target of one gold.
In Incheon, Việt Nam won one gold, 10 silver and 25 bronze medals to rank No 21. The country’s best result was four golds at the Busan Games in 2002. — VNS