Gymnasts take part in Asian championship, eye world and Olympic slots

June 02, 2023 - 07:50

At the 32nd SEA Games, Tùng, Lương and Phong won the team event. Phong took his second gold in the men's rings. Tùng bagged silver in the men's individual.


Nguyễn Văn Khánh Phong of Việt Nam competes in the men's rings at the 32nd SEA Games on May 9 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam will send potential competitors to join a star-studded field at the Asian Artistic Gymnastics Championships at the Singapore Sports Hub later this month.

The Vietnamese squad includes three SEA Games champions Lê Thanh Tùng, Văn Vĩ Lương and Nguyễn Văn Khánh Phong along with young talent Trần Đình Vương and Nguyễn Phước Hải.

At the 32nd SEA Games, Tùng, Lương and Phong won the team event. Phong took his second gold in the men's rings. Tùng bagged silver in the men's individual.

Veteran Trần Đoàn Quỳnh Nam and Phạm Như Phương are accompanied by young faces Lê Thu Thùy and Lê Thị Thanh Phượng as the female representatives.

World champion Carlos Yulo (the Philippines), Olympic medallists Lee Chih-kai (Chinese Taipei) and Yeo Seo-jeong (South Korea) and Asian champion and World Championship silver medallist Ahmad Abu Al-Soud (Jordan) will headline the June 15-18 event at the OCBC Arena.

Philippines' Carlos Edriel Yulo competes during the men's vault final at the World Gymnastics Championships in Liverpool, England last November. — AFP/VNA Photo

Yulo was the two-time world championship winner in the men's floor exercise in 2019 and vault in 2021. Aleah Finnegan and Emma Malabuyo will be the star attractions. Finnegan was part of Team USA which won the team gold at the 2019 Pan American Games. She represented the Philippines at the 2021 SEA Games and took home two golds and two silvers.

Malabuyo, who will be making her debut for the Philippines, has been part of the US national team since 2016 and was an alternate for the 2020 Olympics.

South Korea’s Yeo is the current Olympic bronze medallist in the vault.

Chinese Taipei Lee is the current Olympic silver medallist in the pommel horse, having also won a silver and a bronze at the 2019 and 2018 world championships respectively.

He could be in for a showdown with Jordan’s Ahmad Abu Al-Soud, a double Asian champion and World Championships silver medallist in the event.

Some of the other prominent names are legend Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan, an eight-time Olympian who is still competing at the age of 47, and Indonesia’s Rifda Irfanaluthfi, a silver medallist in the floor exercise at the 2018 Asian Games.

China’s Yang Jiaxing, a member of the squad that won the team gold at the 2022 World Championships, will also be in Singapore.

The Asian Championships is a key event on the road towards the Paris Olympics. The top five teams at the championships will progress to the world championships in Belgium from September 30-October 8.

From the world championships, nine teams will qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics. 

At the 2022 Asian Championships in Doha, China topped the medal tally with eight golds, three silvers and five bronzes while the Philippines (3, 1, 0) and South Korea (2, 2, 4) were second and third, respectively.

This is the first time that Singapore host a continental tournament. The country will also host the Asian Junior Artistic Gymnastics Championships from June 10-12 at the same venue.

Việt Nam will take seven athletes, four men and three women, to the junior competition. VNS