|Hoàng Thị Duyên competes at the Asian Weightlifting Championship in Tashkent,Uzbekistan, on Monday. She wins a bronze medal. Photo iwf,net|
HÀ NỘI — Hoàng Thị Duyên won the first international medal of the year for Vietnamese athletes by finishing third at the Asian Weightlifting Championship in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on Monday.
Southeast Asian Games champion Duyên competed in the women's 59kg category with heavy pressure after her teammates struggled.
Three-time World Cup winner Thạch Kim Tuấn lifted 128kg in the men's 61kg snatch event but he failed in all three attempts in the clean & jerk, meaning he did not come close to a medal.
Meanwhile, Vương Thị Huyền could only place fifth in the women's 49kg with a total lift of 177kg (78kg snatch and 99kg clean & jerk). The result was 6kg less than Huyền's personal best.
Their failure was attributed to their switch of weight classes. Tuấn moved up from 56kg to 61kg while SEA Games gold medalist Huyền went from 45kg to 49kg.
Duyên was the last Vietnamese hope to win a continental medal.
The 24-year-old, who won three World Cup titles last January, did not falter.
She lifted 100kg in the snatch and 116kg in the clean & jerk. Her total of 216kg brought her a bronze.
The gold went to Kou Hsing-chun of Chinese Taipei with 247kg and Lou Xiaomin of China took silver with a 227kg lift.
It was a big statement from the Giáy ethnic minority athlete who finished ninth at the 2019 championship.
The medal will improve her world ranking from her current seventh position and give her a better chance of competing at the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
"At present, Tuấn, world No 5, and Duyên are in the safe zone to qualify for the July Games, according to IWF rules which will select the best eight of each category as Olympic participants," said coach Đỗ Đình Kháng
Huyền is at No 12 and approaching the qualified group. But China have three lifters and the US have two ranked higher than Huyền while North Korea's Ri Song Gum, who is No 3, has withdrawn. As the IWF allows each country to send only one representative to the Olympics, Huyền is temporally in the top eight.
Athletes still have a chance to improve their positions at the Pan-American and African championships in May.
However, Việt Nam are still waiting for a fine from the International Weightlifting Federation after doping scandals relating to four other athletes since 2019.
IWF rules state that any country with three or more doping cases during Olympics qualification starting from November 2018 may lose their Olympic slots or even be banned.
Coach Kháng said the final decision would come in May and hopefully Việt Nam would be approved for one slot. VNS