Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyễn Ngọc Thiện bade farewell to the Việt Nam contingent at a simple ceremony yesterday in Hà Nội, as they headed for the 2017 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
Thiện, who is the President of the Việt Nam Olympics Committee, said the SEA Games is one of the most important sporting events of the year for Việt Nam. It is considered a chance to promote solidarity, friendship and understanding between countries in the region. It was also an opportunity for athletes to show off their talent and achievements.
On behalf of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism Thiện appreciated the determination and great efforts made by the athletes, coaches and experts who overcame difficulties in training, and were now ready for the Games.
He believed that the contingent would get the highest results and finish among the top teams at the Games, satisfying the admiration and trust of fans.
Speaking at the ceremony, Trần Đức Phấn, head of the Việt Nam SEA Games delegation, said after a long time of practise and preparation, his athletes were confident to return from the SEA Games with many gold medals.
“Hundreds of athletes have been summoned to different sports centres. They have been working hard and taking part in many intensive training courses locally and internationally with a view to improve their skills. They receive good health care, nutrition and medicine which are very important to ensure their best physique. And now a 681-member delegation, which includes 475 athletes, is ready for the Games,” said Phấn.
The team will compete in 32 out of 38 sports events at the biennial Games in Malaysia from August 19 to 30.
“We will try our best to grab 49 to 59 gold medals to rank in the top three. The Games is a chance for Việt Nam to compare our sport development with other countries. It is also a step towards the country’s preparation for bigger Games such as the Asian Games in 2018 and the Olympics in 2020,” said Phấn.
Fencer Nguyễn Thành An, on behalf of the athletes, promised to compete with competitive spirit under the sportsmanship for the nation’s glory.
An is the national champion in men’s sabre and he will defend his title at the Kuala Lumpur competition.
Thiện encourages coaches, athletes
Minister Thiện on Monday met the coaches and athletes of all 24 teams preparing for the Malaysian Games.
Athletes worked hard to prepare for the Games, but they must also work on their health and confidence, which are key points during competitions, Thiện advised while speaking at the National Sport Training Centre in Hà Nội.
The minister said athletes must do their best and break their own records for national victory. The SEA Games was a stepping stone from where they should look at higher-level tournaments such as the Asian Games and the Olympics.
Thiện also had a special request for the shooting team, which includes Olympics champion Hoàng Xuân Vinh.
“The shooting team must aim higher [compared to other teams] in the SEA Games. We have won one gold and one silver in the Olympics, so there’s pressure, but there is no way to step backward. It is time to target bigger competitions,” he said.
During their time in Malaysia, every athlete must keep in mind that s/he represents Việt Nam and must share and spread information and images among foreigners about the country’s people and landscape, its culture and traditions.
Thiện will join the athletes at the SEA Games’ opening ceremony on August 19 and cheer them in the events in later days.
The first teams will leave for Malaysia on Friday, while the main delegation will depart on August 16. The contingent will take part in the flag-raising ceremony a day later.
Việt Nam have set a target of being among the top three, with up to 62 gold medals. In the previous Games in Singapore, Việt Nam stood third, winning 73 titles. — VNS