Thu’s HCM City silver earns Olympic berth
HA NOI — Nguyen Thi Hoai
Thu surprised everyone when she won a ticket to compete at next August’s
Beijing Olympics by grabbing a silver medal from the Asia Zone’s qualifying
round, which concluded in HCM City last Friday.
Thu, who came to the
tournament wanting to gain more experience, met with hardly any difficulties to
beat Kirstie Elaine of the Philippines 3-1 in the first round of the women’s
under-57kg category, which drew 15 rivals.
In the second round, the
martial artist eliminated Cosette Basbous from Lebanon with two powerful kicks,
Basbous, who won an Asian
Games’ bronze medal last December, left the competition mat teary eyed.
Thu, an Asian Games’
silver medal holder, faced Shueh Fhern Elain Teo of Malaysia in the semi-finals,
a decisive match in which a berth to Beijing would be awarded.
During the game, the
Vietnamese coach found Teo’s weaknesses and asked Thu to play in
counter-attacks, which gave her a narrow win of 4-3 and a silver medal.
In the final, the managers
asked Thu to forfeit to ensure that she would not suffer any unexpected injury
that would prevent her from fighting at the upcoming SEA Games in Thailand.
After her withdrawal, the
tournament title went to Pei Hua Tseng, of Chinese Taipei.
The bronze belonged to
Teo, who beat a rival from Tajikistan.
Thu’s ticket is the
third for Viet Nam, who were targeted to win just two from this qualifying
The 16-year-old Hoang Ha
Giang took the first one after winning the women’s under-49kg pool. Nguyen Van
Hung grabbed the second in the men’s over-80kg class.
After the qualifier, 14
delegations grabbed tickets. Iran, Uzbekistan and Viet Nam took three each. In
the Southeast region, Thailand secured two and the Philippines took one.
Based on level of
technique and competing style, the organisers presented Samsung Blue Passion
awards to Ha Giang and Deepark Bista of Nepal, who were both voted best
athletes. They both received an insignia and a Samsung TV. — VNS