Việt Nam's athletes make final Olympics qualification push

February 03, 2024 - 09:52
Vietnamese athletes have already qualified for Paris 2024, including swimmer Nguyễn Huy Hoàng, cyclist Nguyễn Thị Thật, and the marksmen Trịnh Thu Vinh and Lê Thị Mộng Tuyền.
Nguyễn Thùy Linh is expected to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics following her performance in the Badminton World Federation competition. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — The Việt Nam Olympic team wants between 12 and 15 athletes to represent the nation at the Olympic Games this summer.

So far, four have qualified for Paris, but Đặng Hà Việt, director of the Việt Nam Sports Authority, believes more can make the cut. 

The four athletes who have already guaranteed a spot are swimmer Nguyễn Huy Hoàng, cyclist Nguyễn Thị Thật, and the marksmen Trịnh Thu Vinh and Lê Thị Mộng Tuyền.

"Việt Nam's sports' achievements have been declining as we send fewer athletes to each Olympic Games," Việt said.

"At the 2016 Rio Olympics, we had 23 athletes. At the 2020 Tokyo event, there were 18 spots. But at this Paris Olympics, we set a target of earning 12 to 15 spots, but it is a very difficult task.

"As of now, we have only had four athletes qualified, which is about 30 per cent of our goal. We have about six months left until the Games. Our coaches and athletes must try their best to get the mission done," Việt said.

"There are different qualifications ongoing and our competitors still have chances to improve their scores."

Việt said he expects additional qualifications from Việt Nam's badminton, weightlifting, gymnastics, and track-and-field athletes.

"Our top badminton player Nguyễn Thùy Linh is likely going to her second Olympics. She is now competing in the Badminton World Federation. If she ranks in the top 12 players there, she has a strong chance of qualifying for the Olympics."

We also have two male players, Lê Đức Phát and Nguyễn Hải Đăng. If they can rank within the top 38 in the world, they will join Linh in Paris."

Việt added that weightlifter Trịnh Văn Vinh is currently ranked among the top 10 in the world in the 61kg category, while weightlifters Phạm Thị Hồng Thanh and Nguyễn Trần Anh Tuấn both currently rank number 12 in their respective categories.

Trịnh Văn Vinh is one of the world's top 61kg weightlifters. He will likely qualify for the 2024 Summer Olympics. — VNS Photo Hữu Trưởng

While Vinh's Olympic slot is likely guaranteed if he maintains his performance, Thanh and Tuấn will need to be ranked number 10 or higher to qualify for the Games.

The Vietnamese gymnastics team has four athletes who stand a good chance of qualifying, Việt said. These include Nguyễn Văn Khánh Phong, who won silver medals at the 2023 Asian Athletics Championship and the 19th Asian Games in the rings event.

Việt added that the women's 4x400m team is currently ranked 24th globally. If the team cracks the top 16, it will qualify for Paris. In future competition, the team will welcome standout sprinter Quách Thị Lan, who is returning following a suspension for doping allegations.

If none of its runners qualify, Việt Nam will receive a wildcard to compete from the organisers.

Việt added that he hopes additional Vietnamese athletes will qualify for shooting and swimming events, and that rowing, canoeing, judo, boxing, and archery athletes will qualify for future competitions.

Olympic Hopefuls in the Hunt

Việt Nam's gymnasts hope to qualify for Paris at the Gymnastics World Cup series this month. The first event will be held in Egypt from February 15-18, followed by competitions in Germany from February 22-25. A third event takes place in Uzbekistan from May 16-19. The top two finishers in each World Cup event will qualify for the Paris Games.

The Việt Nam team's weightlifters will compete in the 2024 Asian Weightlifting Championship from February 3-12 in Uzbekistan and in the World Cup in Thailand from April 2-11.

"Taking part in various tournaments will help me sharpen my skills and improve psychology. My teammates and I promise to make the best result in Uzbekistan," said Vinh, the former world champion of the men's 61kg weightlifting category.

Quách Thị Lan returns to competition, strengthening Việt Nam's 4x400m team which plans to secure an Olympics berth. — VNA/VNS Photo

The 4x400m team will take part in the World Athletics Relay in the Bahamas on May 4-5.

This is the first time that Việt Nam will have representative at this competition, which will feature about 1,600 elite athletes from 32 national teams competing in men's, women's and mixed categories of different distances. The 14 best teams will be awarded with spots in the Paris Games.

Việt Nam's swimmers will leave for Qatar within the next few days to compete in the 2024 World Aquatics Championships from February 11-18.

Swimmer Hoàng has qualified for the Olympics in the men's 800m freestyle event, and he plans to qualify for the 1,500m event. His teammates hope to secure their slots in breaststroke and individual medley classes.

The swimmer's other tournaments include the 11th Asian Age Group Championships in the Philippines from February 26-March 29 and another international competition in April in Thailand. — VNS