|Nguyễn Thị Tâm (left) training in Hà Nội. VNS Photo Thu Hương|
HÀ NỘI - The Vietnamese boxing team is gearing up for the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 32 in Cambodia next month with the nation's hopes pinned on Nguyễn Thị Tâm, who recently won silver at the World Boxing Championship.
The team will jet off for Thailand on April 16 for a rigorous three-week training camp ahead of the region's biggest sports event.
“The training programme in Thailand will help the Vietnamese boxers to have the best mentality before competing," said Vũ Đức Thịnh, head of the boxing section of the National Sports Administration and general secretary of the Vietnamese Boxing Federation. "We want to have the best preparation for the regional event.”
The team consist of eight male and three female boxers, including stars Nguyễn Thị Tâm and Nguyễn Văn Đương.
At the Games 31 held in Việt Nam last year, the Vietnamese boxing team won three gold medals thanks to Tâm (51kg), Vương Thị Vỹ (57kg), and Trần Thị Linh (60kg).
However, after analysing their opponents this year, Việt Nam has set a target of one gold medal at the Games 32, focusing on the 'golden girl' Tâm.
Tâm has just won a silver medal in the World Boxing Championship and is a double SEA Games champion. She will step up from 51kg to fight in the 54kg category this year.
Coach Nguyễn Như Cường said: "At the Games 32, boxing had 17 weight classes (12 for men and 5 for women), but the host country restricted the content of registration for the competition for other countries. Cambodia also dropped the 51 kg weight class that Tâm won gold medals in two consecutive SEA Games. Therefore, Tâm will have to compete in the 54kg class.”
Thịnh said that increasing the weight class from 51kg to 54kg is challenging for Tâm.
“Usually, boxers walk around at a weight above the class they will compete in. Tâm has to do the reverse process to gain 4kg. It greatly influences her because the opponents will have better physical strength and fighting power because they have been a long accumulation process”.
Tâm is racing against time to train and adjust her diet to achieve the best weight and body shape, but the 29-year-old from Thái Bình Province isn't lacking motivation.
"For me, competing in a new weight class is also an opportunity and motivation for me to try harder and perfect more in tactical techniques towards the goal of defending the SEA Games gold medal," Tâm said.
In addition to the goal of winning another SEA Games gold medal, Tâm is also invested in bigger international tournaments.
"In addition to the regional Games, Tâm also has a key investment for the Asian Games in September in China with the determination to win a ticket to the Paris Olympics 2024,” Thịnh said.
“We plan to send Tâm to a long-term training session in countries with developed boxing movements to realise the above important goal."
Meanwhile, boxer Đương missed the SEA Games 31 as he was infected with COVID-19. After a year, he has trained thoroughly to return to show his true ability. He is also one of the hopes of medals of Vietnamese men's boxing in Cambodia.
Both Đương and Tâm attended the Tokyo Olympics in Japan in 2021. VNS