|Blooming talents: Vietnamese athletes receive flowers from Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyễn Ngọc Thiện.|
HÀ NỘI — The Vietnamese delegation will be departing for Indonesia on August 14 to compete at the 2018 Asian Games (ASIAD) from August 18 to September 2.
A send-off ceremony for 353 Vietnamese athletes was held on Thursday by the Vietnam Olympic Committee (VOC) in co-operation with Herbalife Vietnam, a long-standing nutritional provider for Vietnamese delegations.
The Vietnamese athletes who will be accompanied by more than 135 coaches and supported by dozens of professional officials and will compete against close to 11,300 athletes from 45 countries in Asia across 40 sporting categories.
Speeking at the ceremony, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) Nguyễn Ngọc Thiện encouraged the athletes achieve the targets they had set to bring glory to the nation.
”ASIAD is Asia’s biggest sport event and a fierce arena that gathers many of the world’s top athletes. Vietnamese participation at ASIAD 2018 is very important as it helps to friendships and solidarity among countries across the continent,” said the minister.
|Swimmer Nguyễn Thị Ánh Viên. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Hòa|
Deputy Director of the Việt Nam Sports Administration Trần Đức Phấn, head of the Vietnamese delegation at ASIAD 2018, said the delegation has 523 members, including doctors, experts, coaches, interpreters and athletes.
They will compete in track and field, shooting, weightlifting, karate, taekwondo, pencak silat, wushu, cycling, fencing, archery and football. Việt Nam targets at least three gold medals at this year’s event.
Prominent athletes include Olympic gold medalist sharpshooter Hoàng Xuân Vinh, weightlifters Thạch Kim Tuấn and Trịnh Văn Vinh, runner Lê Tú Chinh, long jumper Bùi Thị Thu Thảo, swimmer Nguyễn Thị Ánh Viên, gymnast Lê Thanh Tùng, taekwondo fighter Trương Thị Kim Tuyến, karatedo fighter Nguyễn Thị Ngoan, cyclist Nguyễn Thị Thật, and Wushu martial artist Dương Thúy Vi.
Bùi Thị Thu Thảo told local media she was confident and felt good about her preparations for the Games.
Asked who her top rivals were, Thảo said the host jumpers were her main concern, but she would try her best to bring home a gold medal for the country.
|High hopes: Long jumper Bùi Thị Thu Thảo speaks to reporters at the send-off ceremony held on Thursday in Hà Nội. — VNS Photo Mai Phương|
"Two month training courses including 25 days abroad provided intensive preparation for the event filled me with confidence for the competition,” said Thảo.
Thảo started 2018 by winning gold at the Asian Indoor Athletics Championships in Iran early last month.
In late 2017, Thảo claimed two titles at the Asian Grand Prix series with a seasonal best of 6.58m.
At the SEA Games, she also beat Maria Natalian Londa of Indonesia, the ASIAD reigning champion who jumped 6.47m, to top the ranking. Thảo’s result of 6.68m was a new record at the SEA Games, beating Londa’s mark of 6.55m set in South Korea four years ago.
At the previous ASIAD in 2014, Việt Nam won one gold, 10 silver and 25 bronze medals, ranking 21st in the overall medals tally. — VNS