Medal hope: Nguyen Thi Kim Tuyen hopes to win the women's 100m and 200m butterfly at the Youth Olympic Games which start in Singapore on Saturday. — VNA/VNS Photo
HA NOI — Thach Kim Tuan and Nguyen Thanh Thao are expected to win medals for Viet Nam at the Youth Olympic Games which kicks off on Saturday in Singapore.
They are among 13 Vietnamese athletes under Hoang Manh Cuong, deputy head of the Elite Sport Department of the National Sport Administration which left for the first ever tournament on Tuesday.
Tuan will compete in the men's 56kg weightlifting event while Thao will perform in the women's 55kg taekwondo category.
Tuan is the first Vietnamese to win a ticket to the Olympics after his successful performance at the World Youth Weightlifting Championship's cadet category, where he won a silver medal last year. The event acted as one of the qualifiers for the Singapore Games. He later surprised his coaches and many people with a fifth-placed finish at the world U20 tournament despite being only 16.
Tracking his progress, Vietnamese coaches believe he can follow in the footsteps of Olympic silver medallist Hoang Anh Tuan.
The youngster's achievements are reason for coaches to believe that he should take a medal position in Singapore despite facing stiff competition from athletes from China, South Korea and Mexico.
In Singapore, Tuan will be the third Vietnamese to compete at 6pm on Sunday. Earlier, Nguyen Thi Hong, another weightlifter will start her contest in the women's 44kg category. Hong took a bronze medal at the World Youth Weightlifting Championship in Thailand.
Thao is a rising taekwondo star. She earned her ticket after winning a bronze medal at the Games' qualifying round held in Mexico in March. Thanks to that result, she was then called up to the national team and took part in different international tournaments as part of intensive preparation for Singapore.
Apart from weightlifting and taekwondo, Vietnamese athletes will also compete in five other track and field events, swimming, shooting, wrestling and badminton.
Vietnamese swimmers have received large amounts support from sport leaders.
Nguyen Thi Kim Tuyen in the women's 100m and 200m butterfly and Tran Tam Nguyen in the women's 100m and 200m freestyle are set to compete, as well as talented Hoang Quy Phuoc who is a wild card entry in men's 100m and 200m freestyle events. The three took training courses in China. According to coach Tran Duy My, the swimmers should do better than ever following their training.
The summer Youth Olympics is a pioneering initiative by the International Olympic Committee, with the aim of inspiring youth around the world to embrace, embody and express the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect.
The games will feature some 5,000 athletes, aged from 14-18, and officials from the 205 National Olympic Committees, competing in 26 sports for 184 sets of medals. The games will close on August 26. — VNS