|The delegation's chef de mission Trần Đức Phấn waves the national flag given by Deputy Prime Minister Phạm Bình Minh during the Olympic sending-off ceremony in Hà Nội on July 13. VNS Photo Quý Lượng|
HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese athletes, coach and officials vowed to compete to the best of their abilities at the Tokyo Olympics at the delegation’s sending-off ceremony in Hà Nội on Tuesday.
A delegation of 43 members including 18 athletes will take part in the Olympics which will be held from July 23 to August 8. They will join 11,000 athletes from 206 nations at the 33-sport Games that will feature five sports for the first time in history.
Vietnamese athletes will take part in athletics, boxing, gymnastics, archery, taekwondo, judo, badminton, rowing, shooting, swimming and weightlifting.
"The Olympics is always a tough competition which sees strongest competitors from countries in the world. I hope that all Vietnamese athletes, coaches and others understand their responsibilities and the honour given to them by the whole country and people to compete at the Games," said Deputy Prime Minister Phạm Bình Minh at the event.
He said athletes should combine Việt Nam’s unique characteristics – bravery, skill, agility and smartness – along with honesty and a spirit of fair play.
Deputy PM Minh also asked each athlete to be an ambassador to popularise beautiful images of Viet Nam to international friends.
Chef de mission Trần Đức Phấn said competing for nation’s pride is a responsibility and duty for all athletes, coaches and officials. They will unite, stay disciplined and adapt well in all situations to bring home victories. At the same time, they will strengthen relationships with other teams.
On behalf of all competitors, archer Nguyễn Hoàng Phi Vũ promised Vietnamese Olympians will be honest, confident and creative during their time in Tokyo.
At the ceremony, Deputy PM Minh presented a bronze medal that weightlifter Trần Lê Quốc Toàn won nearly nine years ago.
Toàn finished fourth in the men’s 56kg class in the London Games in 2012. He lifted 284kg in total, two kilos less than Valentin Hristov of Azerbaijan.
However, the Azerbaijani athlete’s medal was stripped due to a positive drugs test.
The delegation also received strong support from sponsors. Among them, Sen Việt Nam Investment Joint-stock Company promised big bonuses for medal-winning athletes. VNĐ500 million (US$21,700) will be given to those who pocket gold while the reward is VNĐ300 million ($13,000) and VNĐ200 million ($8,700) for silver and bronze medalists, respectively.
Việt Nam won its first gold and silver medal in history at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016. VNS