|World champion Quàng Thị Thu Nghĩa (right) will make her debut at the 31st SEA Games in May. Nghĩa is expected to shine in the women's pencak silat U75kg class. Photo SEA Games 31|
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam’s SEA Games medal hopes lie mainly on the shoulders of senior and experienced athletes. However, many of the athletes who are making their first appearance at the Games are expected to hit the ground running next month and help Việt Nam finish top of the table.
Quàng Thị Thu Nghĩa is one of those who will be making her debut on the pencak silat team. The 23-year-old has had a remarkable record with two gold medals at the world championships in 2019 and 2020. Competing in the women’s U75kg category, she also has golds from Asian, Southeast Asian and national championships.
Now, the native of the mountainous Sơn La Province, is ready to step onto the region's biggest stage.
“I have trained hard and prepared well in both technique and fitness for my SEA Games debut. I hope to secure the best result on home turf,” said Nghĩa.
She said the rules of pencak silatrecently changed, creating challenges for her and her teammates. However, it was only one of many difficulties that they have to overcome if they want gold medals.
“I am proud to represent Việt Nam this Games. I have won the world and Asian events. This background will be part of my confidence,” said Nghĩa who identified Thailand and Indonesia as the main rivals next month.
Phí Thanh Thảo is a 'treasure' of the shooting team.
|Phí Thanh Thảo is confident ahead of her first SEA Games. — Photo of Minh Đức|
The soldier of the Military Team has grabbed high results from National Youth Shooting Championship’s air rifle events. In some test events, her scores were even better than some of her senior teammates.
At the age of 18, she is one of the youngest members of Việt Nam contingent.
There are 20 events of shooting this year. Thảo is expected to help Việt Nam complete a target of up to seven gold medals
“This is my first international tournament and I am really excited and can’t wait to shoot,” said Thảo.
“I have been in focused training for months and always ready for completion.
“Having opportunities to perform on home soil is an advantage for me. I actually suffer no pressure but home support will help me more confident," she said.
Archery has been a gold haul of Việt Nam in every SEA Games.
Nguyễn Thị Thanh Nhi is the rising star of the team after her outstanding performance at the national championship.
|Nguyễn Thị Thanh Nhi believes her hard-work attitude will help her win gold at the 31st SEA Games. — Photo laodong.vn|
Nhi, 22, overcame Olympian Đỗ Thị Ánh Nguyệt to win five gold medals in the women’s recurve events. Officials did not hesitate to name her in the national team.
This is her first SEA Games, and also her first international tournament.
“Nervousness is avoidable at every first, pressure too. But I try to focus on daily working to make sure my peak for SEA Games,” said Huế-born Nhi.
Nguyễn Quốc Anh was a surprise addition to the athletics team.
|Nguyễn Quốc Anh will compete in the men's 10,000m event at his first SEA Games. — Photo of Nguyễn Quốc Anh|
Anh secured his SEA Games slot after a selection competition held in early March. Anh made a bang when he overcame veteran Lê Văn Thao to win the 10,000m event with a time of 31.16min.
He then came second in the same class at the National Tiền Phong Newspaper Marathon Championship.
Anh is expected to help Việt Nam to finish in the top three of the 10,000m event, taking back the title lost to Thailand three years ago in the Philippines.
"I am happy and it is an honour to be a Vietnamese athlete at the SEA Games,” said the 21-year-old soldier.
“My coach and I are working hard every day to lift my result for the regional competition. It will be an important launching pad for me in the career.”
Different from the above athletes, Hà Văn Nhật is a familiar name in the marathon community. But he will make his debut in the men’s duathlon event.
|Hà Văn Nhật moves from the marathon to compete in the duathlon in the 31st SEA Games. — Photo of Hà Văn Nhật|
Nhật, 23, from Thanh Hóa Province, won his national team slot after leaving heavy rivals behind at the TRI-Factor 2022 early this month.
He said with his careful preparation he would bring home high results for Việt Nam.
The 31st SEA Games will be held in 12 cities and provinces in the northern region with the participation of more than 7,000 athletes from May 12-23. — VNS