|Beam dreams: Phan Thi Ha Thanh of Viet Nam hopes to win her first ASIAD title at the 17th edition in South Korea. — Photo thethaovietnam.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — Only one week is left for the gymnasts to complete their final preparations before they take part in the 17th Asian Games (ASIAD) in South Korea.
The team have been asked to bring home a gold medal, which would be a tough job at a competition which attracts the best sportspersons in Asia.
ASIAD is considered the most important target of the year for the gymnasts. They have been preparing since January with a range of tournaments and training courses where they could watch the performance of their key rivals who would be participating in the Asian Games.
"The recent course in Japan helped us to fit the final piece in the puzzle for our performance and make us confident for ASIAD," said coach Nguyen Thanh Thuy.
"I have perfected my skills through these courses. I also found that I might have a chance to win after seeing my ASIAD rivals at these tournaments," said Phan Thi Ha Thanh, two-time winner of the Grand Prix Osijek.
Thanh, who won a bronze medal in the women's vault event in the 2011 World Championships, is again expected to shine. She is also a key Vietnamese contender in the beam category.
"The vault is our best bet and then the beam. I believe that after her outstanding performance in the two recent World Cup events this year, Thanh will maintain her peak performance at Incheon," coach Thuy said.
Thanh, who performed well at the Korea World Top in April, is one of the three female gymnasts of Viet Nam, the other two being young talents Do Thi Van Anh and Do Thi Thu Hien.
Coach Truong Tuan Hien confirmed that Pham Phuoc Hung in the men's squad is also likely to perform well.
"Our athletes received strong support in Japan where their nutrition and injuries were taken care of. They are in their best physical fitness and spirit," he said.
"Based on results of the gymnasts, Hung can vie for a medal in the parallel bars event, although he would face opponents from China and Japan who are among the best in the world at present," Hien said.
Hung, who has been training in gymnastics for 20 years, won a title at the FIG World Challenge Cup last year and a silver medal at the Grand Prix Osijek this year.
"ASIAD is considered to be as tough as the world championship, with competitors coming from China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and the host country. We need a little luck and strong effort from our gymnasts to become champions," said Nguyen Kim Lan, head of the Gymnastics Department of the National Sports Administration.
The gymnasts will leave for South Korea on September 15. Artistic gymnastics will be held from September 21 to 25 at the Namdong Gymnasium, Incheon. — VNS