|Vietnamese runner Quách Thị Lan practises at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium ahead of her 400m hurdles event today. — Photo Việt Nam Olympics Team|
HÀ NỘI — Quách Thị Lan is the last Vietnamese athlete to compete at the Tokyo Games after all of her teammates were defeated in various sports.
Lan will compete in the women's 400m hurdles today.
The Asian champion has been offered a place at the Games because she could not participate in any qualification round due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to a big gap between Vietnamese athletes and the world in track and field as well as swimming, Việt Nam have only set target of trying to advance to finals.
Lan whose best result is 55.30sec is expected to qualify for the semi-finals in her first Olympics, which will be considered a success for Việt Nam. Previously, only sprinter Vũ Thị Hương qualified for second round when she run the 100m at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Later, walker Nguyễn Thị Thanh Phúc competed in the final on the 2012 London Olympics because her category had no qualification.
The Việt Nam Athletics Federation has offered Lan VNĐ20 million (US$870) if she can reach the semis.
Asian Games winner Lan will compete against 39 athletes in this category today at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium. The 25-year-old is one of two Asian runners. The other is Aminat Yusuf Jamal of Bahrain with Nigerian descent.
Lan will run in Heat 3 where she face American Sydney McLaughlin who just set the world record at 51.90 seconds in June. McLaughlin is the first female athlete finish this discipline in under 52 seconds.
The twenty-four top runners will advance to the semi-finals. The top eight will then vie for medals in the final.
"It is not true if I say there is no pressure," said Lan.
"I am a little nervous because it is my first time at Olympics in a huge event. But here I can compete with world-class athletes, it will be great chance to learn and try harder."
Last night, Vietnamese swimmer Nguyễn Huy Hoàng competed in the men's 1,500m freestyle qualifier.
He finished fifth in Heat 3 with a time of 15min 00.24sec. He placed No 12 overall out of 29 athletes but failed to qualify for finals.
Also yesterday, most of Vietnamese sportsmen and women arrived home.
Those who touched down in Việt Nam were gymnasts, and athletes from taekwondo, weightlifting, shooting, judo, rowing as well as some officials.
They will be quarantined in Hà Nội for the next 14 days. — VNS