|Young Vietnamese swimmer Nguyễn Huy Hoàng is ready for the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina today. — Photo zing.vn|
HÀ NỘI — Young Vietnamese swimming star Nguyễn Huy Hoàng has his sights set on gold at the Summer Youth Olympic Games which will open in Buenos Aires, Argentina today.
Hoàng, 18, has written history for Vietnamese swimming following his success at the Asian Games (ASIAD) 2018 recently held in Indonesia where he won one silver in the men’s 1,500m freestyle finishing just three seconds behind Chinese star Sun Yang, and a bronze medal in the men’s 800m freestyle.
This year’s Games do not feature the 1,500m category, so he will focus on the 800m freestyle.
The Quảng Bình-born swimmer has a personal best of 7:54.32 in the 800m freestyle, which is faster than the 7:54.58 set by Abruzzo Andrew of the US to win gold at the last Games.
Hoàng could well cause an upset in Argentina, although he will face arch rivals from the US, Hungary, Japan, Russia and South Korea.
“With the support from my coaches, I have practised very hard after returning from ASIAD. I am in good form and ready for the Games. It is a difficult event as it draws the leading young swimmers from around the world. However, I am not afraid of meeting my rivals,” said Hoàng.
“I aim to beat my personal best in Argentina. In 2014, Nguyễn Thị Ánh Viên brought home a gold medal and I hope to immitate her,” Hoàng added.
Trần Đức Phấn, deputy director general of the National Sports Administration and head of the Vietnamese delegation in Argentina, said he was waiting for Hoàng to shine.
Hoàng could swim at three years old. The villagers of Thanh Tiến Hamlet, Tuyên Hóa District often called him the “otter” because he was very good at swimming and has very dark skin.
At the age of 15, Hoàng won five gold medals at the SEA Junior Swimming Championships. At 16, he surpassed veteran Lâm Quang Nhựt to become national champion in 1,500m.
Last year, he took gold at the SEA Games in the 1,500m and also broke the Games record with a time of 15:20.10.
Young weightlifter Ngô Sơn Đỉnh, 17, is also a golden hope for Việt Nam.
The Tiền Giang-born lifter won one gold and two bronze medals in the men’s 56kg at the Asian Youth Weightlifting Championship last year.
Đỉnh also won three gold medals at the Asian Youth Weightlifting Championship and two bronzes at the World Youth Weightlifting Championship this year.
“Đỉnh is a real talent in both the snatch and clean & jerk. He is highly rated by experts because of his skills, desire and mindset. Although he has only been trained for five years, he is a key part of the national junior team and is expected to become an important member of the senior team in the near future,” said Đỗ Đình Kháng, head of weightlifting at the National Sports Administration.
Việt Nam have sent 13 athletes to Argentina to compete in athletics, swimming, weightlifting, badminton, taekwondo, gymnastics and dance sport.
At the 2010 Games, the team bagged one gold through weightlifter Thạch Kim Tuấn in the men’s 56kg, along with a silver and bronze in taekwondo and a bronze in badminton.
At the 2014 Games, swimmer Viên won gold and weightlifter Nguyễn Trần Anh Tuấn brought home a silver.
The Games is an elite multi-sport international event held every four years for the world’s best athletes between the ages of 14 to 18. Buenos Aires 2018 will mark the first time an Olympic event has had an equal number of male and female athletes. There will be 1,999 women and 1,999 men from 206 countries and territories competing in 32 sports for a total of 1,250 medals.
In addition, this is the first time the event has been held in a city in the Americas. — VNS