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Vietnamese athletes seek Olympic berths

Update: February, 19/2016 - 14:53
Quach Cong Lich will take part in the 2016 Asian Indoor Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, on February 19. — Photo
HA NOI — Vietnamese track-and-field athletes are trying to secure berths for the Brazil Olympics via the 2016 Asian Indoor Athletics Championships that began in Doha, Qatar, on February 19.

The four Vietnamese athletes participating in the event, which ends on February 21, are Quach Cong Lich (men's 400m), Quach Thi Lan (women's 400m), Bui Thi Thu Thao (women's long jump) and Tran Hue Hoa (women's triple jump).

Lich and Lan are training in the United Sates. After the Asian championships, they will return to the United States to continue their training.

Lan's brother Lich won the silver medal in the men's 400m race at the 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Singapore last year, clocking 45.99sec, beating the SEA Games' record of 46 seconds held by Thailand's Sukkaew Kunanon. He also won the gold medal in the same category in the 2015 Asian Grand Prix in Thailand. Lan won the silver medal at the 2014 Asian Games, in addition to several medals at the SEA Games.

"All four athletes have a chance to secure an Olympic berth in Brazil this summer. We hope they will take full advantage of this tournament to fulfil wishes. However, we are not putting pressure on them. Above all, they need to express their progress through professional skill parameters," Duong Duc Thuy, head of the athletics department of the National Sports Administration, said.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese runner Nguyen Thi Huyen will not compete in this Asian event because of her injury.

Huyen performed impressively at the Games in Singapore. She won three gold medals in the 400m, 400m hurdles, and 4×400m relay events, while setting Games records in the latter two and meeting the Olympic B standards in the 400m and 400m hurdles.

However, Huyen, born in the northern Nam Dinh Province, hasn't secured an Olympic berth. She currently ranks 77th among athletes who meet Olympic standards, but only 48 athletes on the list will be selected for the Olympics.

Nearly 300 athletes from 36 countries will compete in the Asian Indoor Athletics Championships in the same facility that hosted the event in 2008 and the IAAF World Indoor Championships two years later.

Viet Nam secured two berths in athletics events at the London Olympics in 2012, but they have not secured any Olympic berth this year so far.

Thuy said Viet Nam would get another chance to go to Brazil if they played well in the 2016 Asian 20km race walking championships that would be held at Nomi-shi, Japan, on 20 March, a qualifier for the Olympics. Nguyen Thi Thanh Phuc had secured a berth for the London Olympics for the first time in Viet Nam's athletics by competing in this event.

Vietnam aims to secure 16 to 20 Olympics berths in shooting, athletics, swimming and gymnastics, as well as fencing and weightlifting.

Six athletes have secured a berth so far for 2016 Summer Olympics that will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from August 5 to 21.

They are shooters Hoang Xuan Vinh and Tran Quoc Cuong, swimmer Nguyen Thi Anh Vien and three weightlifters.

Vietnamese athletes are racing against time to get the targeted number of berths for the Olympics. — VNS

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