Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese disabled athletes are ready for the World Para Powerlifting Championships and World Para Swimming Championships, slated for December 2-8 in Mexico City.
Việt Nam will send six powerlifters, namely Lê Văn Công, Nguyễn Bình An, Đặng Thị Linh Phượng, Châu Hoàng Tuyết Loan, Nguyễn Thanh Xuân and Nguyễn Văn Phúc and four swimmers including Võ Thanh Tùng, Nguyễn Thành Trung, Trịnh Thị Bích Như and Đỗ Thanh Hải to Mexico.
Among the powerlifters, Công has medal hopes in the men’s 49kg. He won gold medals in the 2016 Paralympics and the ASEAN Para Games this year.
In this category, 33-year-old Công will face four rivals from Hungary, Jordan, Nigeria and Turkey. He will seek his first world title against defending world champion Adesokan Yakubu, 38, of Nigeria.
They have already competed at the latest edition of the world championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2014, with Yakubu taking gold.
Công became the first athlete from his country to win a Paralympics medal last year. He did so thanks to a world record 183kg lift, 3kg heavier than the mark set by Yakubu at the 2012 London Paralympics 2012.
“I am now very excited to take part in world championship in Mexico. I am eager to meet Yakubu again. However I don’t feel under any pressure in the tournament,” Công told Việt Nam News.
“I am only afraid that the weather in Mexico is very cold now so I won’t adapt myself to the weather. In addition to the two-days travel, my physical strength won’t be as good as at home,” Công added.
To prepare for the tournament, Công and his teammates have trained six days a week.
According to head coach Nguyễn Hồng Phúc of the weightlifting team, the time from the Para Games held in Malaysia in September to the world event was short so Vietnamese players had to skip their recovery period to focus on training.
“Skipping recovery can increase injury risk for athletes during the training. This made me and the leaders feel anxious. However, they are now in good form and ready for the upcoming tournament,” said Phúc.
On Công’s weight category in Mexico, Phúc said: “This is a very difficult event for Công as it attracts the world’s leading athletes so we only set a target that Công will finish in the top three.”
While the weightlifting team left for Mexico yesterday, the swimming team arrived in Mexico City yesterday.
“The team have just arrived in Mexico. We are now rather tired after two-day journey. However, we will make every effort to gain medals,” coach Đổng Quốc Cường told Việt Nam News.
Võ Thanh Tùng will compete in the World Para Swimming Championships in Mexico. — Photo courtesy of Võ Thanh Tùng
Among four Vietnamese swimmers, Võ Thanh Tùng is expected to shine. The 32-year-old Tùng will compete in the men’s 50m backstroke-S5, 50m freestyle-S5 and 100m freestyle-S5.
“It is the second time I have taken part in the world event. I hope I can reach the podium in Mexico,” Tùng told Việt Nam News.
Earlier, Tùng brought home the bronze medal in the 50m freestyle in the world championships held in Glasgow, Scotland two years ago. In the Paralympics 2016 in Brazil, the southern province of An Giang-born swimmer won silver in the same category.
In Mexico, five-time Asian champion Tùng will face Brazilian legend, Daniel Dias in all the above mentioned divisions.
They have been facing each other at major competitions since the London Paralympics in 2012, with Dias always coming out on top.
At last year’s Paralympics, Dias and Tùng starred in the 50m freestyle, with Brazil’s most decorated Para athlete in history clocking 32.78secs to finish ahead of Tùng (33.94), who won his country’s first Paralympic medal ever in the sport.
Besides Tùng, the 30-year-old Trịnh Thị Bích Như is also a candidate for a medal in the women’s 100m breaststroke-SB5. Như won silver in the world championships in 2015.
Earlier, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) postponed its world championships following the earthquake in Mexico City.
It is the first time two world events are being held in the same time and place. — VNS