|Nguyễn Thành Ngưng competes in Japan. — Photo webthethao.vn|Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese walkers secured the best finish of all Southeast Asian athletes at the Asian 20km Race Walking Championship which closed in Nomi City, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, on Sunday.
National champion Nguyễn Thành Ngưng completed his race in 1hr 30.15min to place seventh in the men’s category, 13 minutes slower than winner Toshikazu Yamanishi of the hosts who walked 1:17.15. Chinese Zhang Jun and Australian Rhydian Cowley were second and third, respectively.
"It is really cold out there. We have to walk under the rainy weather of 2 degrees Celsius. Normally it takes me dozen of minutes to warm up but here I spent more than one hour and felt nothing," said Ngưng.
"Walkers from Japan, Chinese Taipei, South Korea and Malaysia took turns to lead. But I competed with comfortable mind as I just want to beat my result of 1:30.19 at the National Sports Games last December. I tried to catch up with them and finally I am at seventh to prove that I am No 1 in ASEAN," said the 26-year-old, adding that he felt pleased with the result as he had only a month to train.
"I hope to do better than that in future races so that I could take part in Olympics again," he said.
His older sister Nguyễn Thị Thanh Phúc also placed seventh in the women’s pool.
Phúc, who returned to international action in this event after a four year hiatus to have a baby, completed the 20km in 1:41.50.
She also finished first in ASEAN after leaving SEA Games winner Goh Elena Ling Yin of Malaysia 11 minutes behind.
The two walkers however will be unable to show their talents at this November’s SEA Games as hosts Philippines have eliminated their sport from the event. — VNS