|Vietnamese pencak silat martial artists train to prepare for the upcoming 2018 Asian Games. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese pencak silat martial artists will compete at the upcoming 2018 Asian Games (ASIAD) and they’ve set their sights on gold.
According to Nguyễn Văn Hùng, Việt Nam pencak silat team’s coach, Việt Nam will send 18 athletes to the event which is slated for August-September in Indonesia, competing in performance and combat categories.
Male athletes will compete in seven divisions in the combat events: 55 kg, 60 kg, 65kg, 70kg, 75kg, 90kg and 95kg. Female artists will take part in 55kg, 60kg and 65kg.
At the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games which took place in Malaysia last year, Vietnamese pencak silat artists won three gold medals in the 50kg and 80kg categories. However, the categories in which Việt Nam won gold are not included in this year’s event, causing a headache for Hùng and the team.
Hùng said this meant athletes had to lose or gain weight to compete in suitable events. However, this gave athletes difficulties in training and competing.
For example, Phạm Thị Tươi, who bagged gold in the SEA Games last year in the women’s 50kg, is injured so will not compete in the Asian event. Trần Thị Thêm, SEA Games silver medallist in the 55kg category, will replace Tươi in Indonesia.
Nguyễn Duy Tuyến, who won a gold medal in the Games 29 in the men’s 80kg, had to gain another 10kg to compete in the 90kg event.
“Besides eating regulations, I have to train very hard to have strong muscles for bearing a new weight,” said Tuyến.
Over the past 20 years, Việt Nam’s pencak silat has proven its strength in the regional, continental and international tournaments.
In the recent World Pencak Silat Championships, Việt Nam won seven gold, seven silver and five bronze medals. At the Southeast Asian (SEA) Pencak Silat Championships last year, the Vietnamese team ranked second in the medal tally with five golds, five silvers and seven bronzes.
In addition to pencak silat, karate, wushu, weightlifting, track-and-field, swimming and shooting are the sports in which players stand a chance to win gold medals.
Vietnamese pencak silat artists will compete from August 23-29 at ASIAD 2018 which will be held in Jakarta and Palembang.
The Việt Nam national sports delegation heading to the ASIAD will consist of 532 members, including 352 athletes, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
The athletes will compete in 32 out of 40 sports and the national team’s target is at least three gold medals.
At the previous ASIAD in 2014, Việt Nam pocketed one gold, 10 silver and 25 bronze medals, ranking 21st in the overall medal tally. — VNS