HÀ NỘI Nguyễn Văn Đương has become the fifth Vietnamese athlete to compete at the coming Tokyo Olympics this summer.
Đương won his berth after knocking down Chatchai Decha Butdee of Thailand in the Asia/Oceania Olympic boxing qualifying tournament early yesterday morning (Hà Nội time) in Amman, Jordan.
TOKYO-BOUND: Nguyễn Văn Đương poses with his 'Olympic ticket' earned at the Asia/Oceania Olympic boxing qualifying tournament in Jordan. VNS Photo Nam Trung
Đương needed only 47 seconds to floor Southeast Asian Games champion Butdee after series of punches to his head in the quarter-final match of the men’s featherweight (52-57kg) category at Prince Hamzah Hall.
It is his second KO result in Jordan. He also sent Australian Charlie Senior home after only 42 seconds in the first-round match.
Apart from a berth in the semi-finals, Đương also secures a slot at the Tokyo Games as per the rules of the event.
It was also sweet revenge for the Vietnamese who lost to Butdee in the SEA Games’ gold medal match last December.
Prior to the Games, Đương also attended a training camp in Thailand where sparred with Butdee.
“I was defeated by Butdee in the SEA Games final. Therefore, I was really happy when I successfully defeated him today,” said Đương.
“It is more special because the win also pushes me to the Olympics.”
Đương will face Mohammad Abdelaziz Mohamm Alwadi of the hosts in the last-four round. Alwadi earlier won 5-0 over South Korean HaM Sangmyeong. The other semis will see No 1 seed Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov of Uzbekistan versus Serik Temirzhanov of Kazakhstan.
"His victory was really a surprise for the coaching staff as Đương is not seeded in his category while his rivals are really strong," coach Nguyễn Như Cường told Việt Nam News.
"He did a really good job against the Australian and especially the Thai fighter who has experience and has dominated the ASEAN region for many years. Butdee was confident after beating Đương in the 30th SEA Games while our fighter was competing at the Asia/Oceania tournament-level for the first time.
"It is an unexpected result for us because previously our top two boxers were defeated easily."
Đương is the third Vietnamese boxer to compete in the Olympics, following Đặng Hiếu Hiền and Đỗ Tiến Tuấn at the Seoul Games in 1988.
Việt Nam still have a hope in Nguyễn Mạnh Cường in the men’s light heavy (75-81kg) category, who will compete in a play-off round.
Mạnh Cường was ousted in the quarter-finals on Sunday but he still had a chance when he fought Indian Sachin Kumar in the second play-off. The winners of two play-offs will advance to the final. The winner here will get an Olympic ticket.
"Đương's win is a strong push for the whole team. We are really excited and hope that Mạnh Cường will take advantage of that to earn his own spot," said coach Như Cường.
Earlier, two Vietnamese female boxers Nguyễn Thị Tâm and Nguyễn Thị Hương, both were seeded No 3 in their classes were eliminated.
Prior to Đương, four Vietnamese Olympic qualifiers are swimmer Nguyễn Huy Hoàng, gymnast Lê Thanh Tùng, and archers Đỗ Thị Ánh Nguyệt and Nguyễn Hoàng Phi Vũ. VNS