|SEA Games champion Nguyễn Đức Tuân (left) will defend his title at the Cambodian Games in May. VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam's table tennis team is hoping for at least one gold medal at the 32nd SEA Games, the same as what they achieved at the last Games.
According to Phan Anh Tuấn, general secretary of the Việt Nam Table Tennis Federation, the target was humble compared to what the team did in the past with golds in the men's team in the 29th Games in 2017, men's doubles in the 30th Games in 2019 and men's singles in the 31st Games in 2022.
However, it was not an easy task because while rivals in the region usually trained overseas, Vietnamese athletes stayed at home for three years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since early last month, the strongest 19 players have been summoned to train in Hà Nội to ensure their target. Among them are champion Nguyễn Đức Tuân and bronze medallists Nguyễn Anh Tú, Nguyễn Thị Nga and Anh Hoàng.
They will compete in all seven events for men's and women's singles, doubles, team and mixed doubles.
"We plan to send athletes to tournaments conducted by the international federation and intensive training courses abroad to sharpen their skills," said Tuấn.
The first training camp will be in Guangzhou, China, from April 10 to May 1.
Former SEA Games champion Nguyễn Anh Tú said: "The China training course will be a good opportunity for me and my teammates prior to the SEA Games. Currently, all of us are in good moods and condition. We feel comfortable and are motivated to head to Phnom Penh.
"It is important training for the team and Guangzhou is considered a suitable destination for Vietnamese players. They can not only improve their fitness but also lift their professionalism and competitive minds.
"The training is ahead of the SEA Games and we will adjust their preparation so that they will be at peak at the 32nd Games and for further tournaments including the 19th Asian Games."
However, Tuấn said it would be better for his team when they have an international standard facility so that they would be actively implementing their training plans.
Meanwhile, President Nguyễn Xuân Vũ said the federation was working hard in terms of finding sponsors so athletes will receive more support and table tennis will strongly develop.
At the last Games in May in Hà Nội, Việt Nam grabbed one gold and four bronzes. The gold, by Đức Tuân, was the first single's title after 19 years.
This year, the SEA Games will be organised from May 5 to 17 while table tennis is from May 9-16. Most sports are held in Phnom Penh. The rest is in Siem Reap, Preah Sihanouk, Kampot and Kep. VNS