Vietnamese boxer Nguyễn Văn Đương (right) believes Olympics postponement will give him more time to train./ VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — The Tokyo Olympics have been officially postponed but Vietnamese athletes will have no time to rest as they will have to prepare for a double task in 2021.
According to Trần Đức Phấn, deputy head of the Việt Nam Sports Administration, the Games’ postponement does not affect the plans of most athletes, and instead give them more time to train.
“The postponement is a reasonable decision. Việt Nam totally agrees with Japan and the International Olympic Committee,” said Phấn.
“It is to protect people's health, although Japan will suffer big losses.
“In Việt Nam, some athletes who are trying to qualify for the Olympics may be disheartened. However, basically, sport will not suffer much from this decision because only five athletes have qualified.
“We will wait for the IOC's decision to adjust plans for our athletes. In 2021, apart from Olympics, we also have to prepare for the 31st Southeast Asian Games here.”
Responding to the postponement, Olympic qualifier boxer Nguyễn Văn Đương said it was good news.
“The Olympics have been moved to next year. It is not a surprise. I think that it is good for me because I will have more time to prepare,” Đương told Việt Nam News yesterday.
Đương’s slot at the Tokyo Games was unexpected and his coaches had built a strict training plan for him as he had only four months to go to fight at the biggest sporting event in the world.
Now, they have to make other plans.
Gymnastic coach Trương Minh Sang also agreed with Đương.
“My gymnast Lê Thanh Tùng really needs more time to sharpen his technique. Previously, we had a plan to train in Japan but it was cancelled due to the outbreak. Now we have one more year, and we can do a lot,” said Sang.
Hoàng Thị Duyên is one of three Vietnamese weightlifters to win places in Tokyo.
Duyên, who competes in the women’s 59kg category, said she was confused after the postponement.
“We are training hard while we wait for the pandemic to be over. Now it is delayed, we will have to cut our training and then push on for 2021," she said.
The delay also offers cyclist Nguyễn Thị Thật a better shot to enjoy her first Olympics.
The former Asian champion is a member of the Belgian Lotto Soudal Ladies crew. She was ranked No 33 in the world but due to the coronavirus many tournaments have been cancelled and she has dropped to No 134.
The 30th Southeast Asian Games winner needs to collect points to make the top 100 to secure her slot.
“I'm still training hard. When COVID-19 is over, I will go back to my team and try to collect points in European tournaments. The chance is still open for me,” she said.
Việt Nam has five athletes who have qualified for the Olympics. They are swimmer Nguyễn Huy Hoàng, gymnast Tùng, archers Đỗ Thị Ánh Nguyệt and Nguyễn Hoàng Phi Vũ, and boxer Đương.
While Việt Nam wants to reach a world level in Olympic sports, the SEA Games are still the most important event for the country every two years.
“After the Olympics, Vietnamese athletes will take part in the biennial Games. We will set up training programmes to make sure athletes perform well at both events,” said Phấn.VNS