World youth record holder Đỗ Tú Tùng hopes to make gold at the 2024 Olympics. Photo nld.com.vn
HÀ NỘI Three years, 16 international gold medals and three world records.
Weightlifter Đỗ Tú Tùng has had remarkable success at the tender age of 16 and is Việt Nam’s next great Olympic weightlifting medal hope.
Tùng was born in 2004 in Quế Võ District, Bắc Ninh Province, a locality known for wrestling and Tùng practised the traditional sport as a small kid.
He was introduced to the provincial wrestling team when he was 11 but there was no place for him, so he gave weightlifting a shot.
Weightlifting was also familiar to the little boy as Olympic silver medalist Hoàng Anh Tuấn, Asian Games runner-up Trịnh Văn Vinh and world championship silver holder Lại Gia Thành are from his Quế Võ District.
Tùng fell in love with the sport when he saw veteran teammates work hard and win medals.
“It is great to see them on the podium and getting honour from judges and supporters. I just hoped one day I would be there and receive my own silverware,” said Tùng.
“The dream made me work harder and harder and never give up to make it come true.”
Three years after his first day he secured three gold medals at the National Junior Weightlifting Championships' 49kg category in 2017.
The boy made his international debut at the Asian youth championships a year later and took all three golds in the 49kg category’s snatch, clean & jerk and total in Uzbekistan.
The year 2019 saw even greater success with three golds and three new world junior records (95kg in snatch, 125kg in clean & jerk, 220kg in total) at the Youth World Weightlifting Championships' 49kg discipline in the US in March.
He took part in the Asian Youth and Junior Championships in North Korea last October and grabbed four golds, one silver and one bronze in the 55kg class. Among them, three golds were from the tournament for youths and rest were from the event for juniors.
Earlier this year, several weeks before social distancing put paid to most global sporting events, Tùng bagged six golds in the Asian Youth and Junior Championships in Uzbekistan in February.
He lifted 110kg in the snatch, 136kg in the clean & jerk and 246kg total to dominate the juniors’ 55kg category.
Taking part in the youth event, with the same results, Tùng easily secured three more titles. All the results are world youth records.
“Since his first days with us, we have seen his special effort in practising which was totally different from other athletes. His results are in the competitions for youth and juniors only but he is a really potential lifter as, during training, he has lifted much better results. He will develop strongly in the future,” said coach Hồ Trường Thắng of Bắc Ninh Province.
Meanwhile, coach Đặng Quang Hải of the national team, said if he received better support in both nutrition and training methods he would reach Olympic level.
After the easing of social distancing, Tùng and teammates are back in training.
While coaches for the national teams have been building a plan to push their athletes to new heights, sporting officials of Bắc Ninh also want to support the young boy.
“We will work closely with the Việt Nam Sports Administration to map out a suitable route to make sure Tùng enjoys the best conditions to be a world elite weightlifter,” said Nguyễn Đương Bắc, deputy director of Bắc Ninh’s sports authority.
The young lifter also has lofty goals.
“I train by following the coaches’ instructions. I also often watch YouTube videos to see how veteran athletes train and compete and learn lessons for myself. I hope I can earn high results from all tournaments. And in the future, my plan is a gold at the 2024 Olympics,”Tùng said. VNS