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Lan to put best foot forward at first Olympics

Update: June, 25/2021 - 08:48
Quách Thị Lan runs at the Asian Athletics Championship in Qatar in 2019. The runner is the only Vietnamese athlete set to compete in track-and-field during the Tokyo Olympics. Photo suckhoedoisong.vn

Athletics

HÀ NỘI — Quách Thị Lan has promised to give her best performance at the coming Olympics after she was confirmed as the only Vietnamese track-and-field set to compete in Japan.

The governing body World Athletics on Wednesday listed Lan as one of the official competitors of the Games as she received a wildcard from the organisers.

Lam was nominated for the wildcard, which Việt Nam received after failing to secure an Olympic berth through qualification, thanks to her outstanding results in national and international tournaments in recent years.

"I am happy, excited, nervous and really proud to be a Vietnamese runner at such a huge competition, my first Olympics," Lan told Việt Nam News.

"My coach and I have not yet built a plan for the tournament since we did not know if I would be accepted. Now, it is official. It strongly encourages me. I am forced to perfect myself to have the best result possible," said Lan who will run in the women's 400m hurdles.

Her Olympic slot is Việt Nam's 15th, coming after those from boxing, swimming, archery, gymnastics, rowing, taekwondo, badminton and weightlifting. Some other slots in shooting and boxing are to be confirmed soon.

Lan is currently the national 400m hurdles champion, with a personal best and national record of 55.30sec. She set the milestone at the Asian Games in August 2018, in Indonesia where she finished second but then was pushed to the top after the winner Oluwakemi Adekoya of Bahrain tested positive for illegal drugs.

Nearly a year later, she snatched silver at the Asian championship in Qatar and again was elevated to the top podium for the same reason.

Lan was also a silver medallist of the 30th Southeast Asian Games in 2019.

"I have watched most of the running tournaments this year and have stayed updated on the runners. It is difficult to say anything now but I would try my best," said the 26-year-old.

"It will be my first international event after two years of staying local because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I will not let other sideline elements affect my performance. I will keep a confident and stable mind as well as strong determination to run my fastest and surpass my own record."

Previously, Việt Nam expected to win official berths from the World Athletics Indoor Championship, Asian Athletics Relays, Asian Athletics Championship and World Athletics Relays in Poland. But postponements, cancellations and a lack of flights to the venues put paid to those hopes.

Vietnamese athletes qualified for track-and-field events in both 2012 (walking and high jump) and 2016 (walking, 400m and 400m hurdle).

"The semi-finals will be my first target. Having not run internationally for such a long time would be a disadvantage but who knows, I could be really energetic to make a special and memorable tournament," said Lan.

The Tokyo Games will be held from July 23 to August 8 with 339 events in 33 sports. More than 11,000 athletes are expected to attend the tournament which has been delayed by one year due to the pandemic. VNS

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