|Vietnamese athletes (from left) Nguyễn Thành Ngưng, Nguyễn Thị Thanh Phúc, Nguyễn Thị Vân and Võ Xuân Vĩnh and coach Trần Anh Hiệp (centre) pose in Japan for the Asian Race Walking Championship. Photo courtesy of Nguyễn Thị Thanh Phúc|
HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese athletes did not earn a ticket to the Olympic Games, although they completed better than expected and reached the top 10 at the Asian 20km Race Walking Championship in Nomi, Japan, on March 19.
SEA Games champion Nguyễn Thị Thanh Phúc finished sixth in the women's category with a time of 1hr 45.45min. Teammate Nguyễn Thị Vân was fourth in the women's open at 1:56.35.
The winner was Gao Lan of China who walked 1:29.25. She was followed by Ayane Yanai of the host (1:30.58) and Indian Priyanka Priyanka (1:32.27).
None of them qualified for the Paris Olympics as the standard time is 1:29.20.
On the men's side, Nguyễn Thành Ngưng came seventh with a time of 1:30.27 while SEA Games champion Võ Xuân Vĩnh was seventh in the men's open clocking in at 1:33.08.
Ngưng cut seven minutes from his time compared to what he did last May to take a SEA Games bronze medal. Vĩnh meanwhile did not reach his best after he switched to compete in triathlons for months and just practised walking recently. He walked 0.76sec slower than in the SEA Games.
Indian Akshdeep Singh (1:20.57), South Korean Choe Byeongkwang (1:21.20) and Chinese Wen Yongjie (1:22:44) were the top three finishers.
The Olympic standard to beat for the men is 1:20.10.
"It was my first Asian tournament since 2019. I met with strong rivals, I had not seen and walked against most of them before," Phúc told Việt Nam News.
"In this fifth continental tournament, I found that many walkers were powerful but young. At my age of 31, I think that the result of 1:45.45 is really good. It makes me still on top of ASEAN," she said.
The four athletes flew back home to continue training for the May SEA Games in Cambodia. Walk races will be held in Siem Reap on May 16. VNS