|Trần Khánh Linh is one of five Vietnamese athletes to compete in the Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating events in September and October. Photo courtesy of Trang Trịnh|
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam will send five athletes to compete in the Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating events which will be held in the coming months in Europe.
Trần Khánh Linh, Nguyễn Quang Minh and Nguyễn Linh Chi will be the Vietnamese representatives at the event in Ostrava, Czech Republic, from August 31 to September 3.
Meanwhile Lê Diệu Hương and Phan Hoàng Phúc will compete in the Egna event in Italy from October 12-15.
It is the second time that Việt Nam have been invited to send athletes to the world's largest competition series for junior competitors.
The first time was in 2019 when Linh, the national leading skater, was the only participant in the Russian event.
"In three years I have not competed in any local and international competition because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am really happy and excited to compete again," Linh told Việt Nam News.
"Finally, I can step out onto the rink and perform at a huge and prestigious international tournament."
Born in 2005 in Hà Nội, Linh has become the best figure skater in Việt Nam after training on the ice for nearly a decade and grabbed a number of medals at national championships and Asian tournaments.
Like many athletes, Linh was also strongly affected by the pandemic which prevented her from both training and competing.
"The social distancing forced me to stay at home while ice rinks were closed. I could only work out in my bedroom. These exercises were to improve my muscles only, I could not do flexibility and endurance exercises which are really important in skating," said Linh.
Linh, who won a gold medal from Trophy Night and a bronze from the Penrith Ice Palace Trophy in Australia in 2019, had to train online with her coach to maintain her fitness and technique.
"The training conditions were really inadequate so I think my preparation for the Grand Prix can't be my best," she said.
"I had to do exercises to improve my contortion and body softness. I also practise ballet to make sure my dance performance is better and help me to earn more points from judges.
"It is my honour to have an opportunity to compete in this Grand Slam. I am excited but also feel a little nervous and worried because I have not performed for a long time," said the national five-time champion who is taking part in a short, intensive training course in the Czech Republic.
She added: "I am proud to be a representative of Việt Nam, one of the youngest members of the world skating federation with short skating history.
"Here I will be against high-quality athletes who are the best in their countries. I am not given any target at this tournament where I come to learn, sharpen my skills and exchange knowledge with pro athletes from all over the world. It would definitely lift me up in the future."
Other highlighted athletes of Việt Nam are siblings Minh, 17, and Chi, 14. They have been practising skating for about eight years. The duo won a gold medal in the ice dance event at the Skate Asia 2018 in Thailand.
|Nguyễn Quang Minh will take part in the Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating in Ostrava, Czech Republic, from August 31 to September 3. Photo of SFV|
Minh secured an Advance Novice category bronze at the Sydney Figure Skating Club Championships 2019. Meanwhile, his sister bagged a gold at the Artistic freestyle and silver from the Open freestyle at the Skate Asia 2017 Indonesia.
Trịnh Thị Trang, general secretary of the Skating Federation of Việt Nam (SFV) told Việt Nam News: "These five athletes are the best in Việt Nam skating currently. But honestly, we have almost no chance to win a medal in this world-class competition which attracts the best junior athletes in the world.
"Having a chance to take part in the event is an honour to all of them. It will take time to join the world competition and Vietnamese athletes will have to go step by step." VNS