Vietnamese supporters can now count on their track-and-field team at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games next month, as the athletes have exhibited impressive performances at an Asian championship.
Team Vietnam finished fifth at the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships, which wrapped up in India on Sunday, with two gold and two silver medals. This is the highest result Vietnam has ever had at the Asian championship.
The Vietnamese gold medalists were sprinter Nguyen Thi Huyen and high jumper Bui Thi Thu Thao, both smashing their own personal records.
In India, Huyen won the women’s 400m in 56.14 seconds, breaking the 2015 SEA Games record of 56.15 seconds set by herself.
In the meantime, Thao jumped over 6.54m to snatch her Asian gold medal, compared to the 6.65m mark that earned her a silver medal at the 2015 SEA Games.
Another sprinter, Quach Thi Lan, secured the women’s 400m silver medal by clocking 52.78 seconds, whereas Vietnam’s second silver medal went to the 4x400m relay team, who finished in 3:33.22.
The Asian Athletics Championships is an important test for Vietnamese athletes before the 2017 SEA Games, Southeast Asia’s largest sporting event, in Malaysia next month.
Track-and-field is considered the ‘golden trove’ for Vietnam at the SEA Games, with the team targeting to bring home 11-12 gold medals.
Duong Duc Thuy, head of the track-and-field division under the Vietnam Sports Administration, hailed the impressive result of the Vietnamese athletes at the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships, but warned that the athletes should not overrate their own abilities.
“It should be noted that the Asian tourney was held only one month before the world’s championship, so many of the region’s strongest athletes did not participate in the India event,” Thuy said.
In the meantime, Nguyen Trong Ho, a former coach of Vietnam’s national track-and-field team, is more upbeat about the athletes.
“Vietnam will continue to dominate such events as women’s 4x400m relay, women’s 400m and women’s 400m hurdles at the Games,” he said.
The Vietnamese marathon runners, 400m sprinters and 4x400m relay athletes, are slated to train in China for two to three weeks before beginning their SEA Games journey.
The 2017 SEA Games runs from August 19 to 30, with some 4,888 athletes competing in 38 sports.