|Vietnamese fencers are training hard to win three golds at the SEA Games 31. VNA/VNS Photo Minh Sơn|
The Vietnamese fencers representing their country will start their fight for gold today at the Mỹ Đình Indoor Athletics Palace in Hà Nội.
The team of 24 athletes will compete in all 12 events of both the men's and women's individual and team events.
One month ahead of the SEA Games, fencers were required to increase the intensity of their exercise and training so they would be in peak physical condition in time for the Games.
They have been tasked with winning at least three gold medals.
The hosts’ golden hopes are on veterans Vũ Thành An (men’s sabre), Nguyễn Tiến Nhật (men’s epee) and two team events.
Other hopefuls are Nguyễn Minh Quang (men’s foil), Vũ Thị Hồng (women’s epee) and Phùng Thị Khánh Linh (women’s sabre) who have had remarkable results in local tournaments.
"This will be a special and important SEA Games for me and the whole team," ASEAN top fencer Vũ Thành An said.
"We have set a target and we will do everything in our ability to meet it."
Fencing used to be Việt Nam's strong points in the SEA Games. They won eight out of 12 golds available at the SEA Games 28 in Singapore.
However, in the last two Games, their results went down to three golds in 2017 and four in 2019 editions.
According to coach Tuấn, the target of three golds was due to players' lack of competition in the last two years because of the COVID-19. The pandemic prevented them from going out and even competing at home as local tournaments were also cancelled.
"We could not carry out our training and competition abroad as we planned. But we have other ways of improving our technique. We research our rivals through clips, learn new skills through top athletes and experts, and update new rules among others," coach Phạm Anh Tuấn said.
"My players also received psychology and mentality sessions to improve their determination and confidence."
"We faced many challenges but we all worked hard to reach our peak for SEA Games. My teammates and I will focus and take golds for Việt Nam," said 18-year-old Nguyễn Thị Kiều Oanh, who will make her debut at this Games.
Fencing will be held at the Hà Nội’s Indoor Athletics Palace from May 13-18. Admission is free for all supporters who must follow COVID-19 prevention and control regulations.
Vietnamese fencers championed in the men's individual and team sabre and men's individual and team epee events in the Philippines Games in 2019.