Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The Việt Nam team have set a target of winning medals, not just collecting experiences, at the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, next month.
The delegation, which is represented by 11 athletes, one guide and 10 officials, took part in the departure ceremony in HCM City on Saturday.
This year’s team are the largest ever sent from Việt Nam to participate at a Paralympics. They will compete in three sports, including powerlifting, swimming and track-and-field.
Among the athletes, lifter Châu Hoàng Tuyết Loan is the most fortunate participant, as she only received her berth last week.
Previously, she was qualified, though she had not competed in the world championships in four years. However, after all Russian competitors were banned from the games, Loan was urged to participate.
She will compete in the women’s 55kg class.
Lifter Lê Văn Công, world record holder, and swimmer Võ Thanh Tùng, five-time Asian winner, shoulder heavy tasks for the team.
Công set a world record of 182kg in the men’s 49kg last year.
Also, Tùng earned a gold medal and broke an Asian record in the men’s 50m freestyle S5 category at the European Open, earlier this year, having swam 34.43sec.
Speaking at the ceremony, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyễn Ngọc Thiện said he hoped Vietnamese athletes would be confident in their ability to make magic at the Rio Games.
“Winning will be glorious, but failure is normal, because it is a festival of the best sportsmen in the world. The most important thing is to overcome yourselves and compete at your best for our nation,” Thiện said.
“I am excited for the day of competition. We have trained hard since the beginning of the year. I hope to bring home a medal,” said swimmer Tùng.
“I watched my teammates competing at the recent Olympics and witnessed what shooter Hoàng Xuân Vinh did. His gold medal will be our strong force and encourage us to strive for the best results at the Paralympics,” said lifter Công.
“My athletes will reach their peak at this year’s Paralympics, which will also see Vietnamese candidates who can vie for medals equally with the best athletes in the world,” said Đổng Quốc Cường.
Cường confirmed that the team would win medals, and they will soon learn what colors those medals will be.
To encourage athletes, sponsors presented VNĐ 550 million to all athletes at the ceremony. Further, Vietravel promised to deliver US$5,000 for each gold medal and record. Also, the Institute of Physics pledged $1,000 for the first gold medal winner.
Athletes under chief de mission Phạm Văn Tuấn, deputy head of the Việt Nam Sports Administration, will depart on August 30. The Paralympics will be held from September 7-18. — VNS