Race walker becomes Vietnam last hope in London
Updated : 08/11/2012 11:31 GMT + 7
Vietnam’s race walker Nguyen Thi Thanh Phuc is now the country’s very last Olympic hopeful after taekwondo martial artist Chu Hoang Dieu Linh on Friday became the 17th athlete of Team Vietnam to end her London journey.
Linh quickly lost 1 – 13 to German’s Fromm Helena at the women’s 67kg qualification at ExCel sport venue.
The referee even declared the German as winner 20 seconds earlier than the match closing time due to the huge point difference between the contenders.
The 18-year-old failed to make a good start as she suffered a kick attack at the 5th second, and was trounced 0 – 3 in the first half. Linh managed to score her first point in the second half but immediately received another kick, and ended up falling on the floor due to a leg injury.
Linh fell to the floor twice in the last half, and Helena managed to deliver a final kick in her face before the Saudi Arabian referee called for an early match closing.
The martial artist thus followed 16 other Vietnamese athletes who have failed to see their medal dream come true at the 2012 London Olympics, which will wrap up Sunday.
So far, Vietnam has only brought home two silver medals from the Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008, and the hope for the third trophy now burdens 22-year-old Phuc, who will be competing at the women’s 20km race walk event today.
Unfortunately, it is only a faint hope.
The race walker made it to London after securing a bronze medal at the Asian championship held in Japan last March by stopping the clock at 1h35m, far better than the Olympic qualifying standard B of 1h38m.
However, at the world’s largest sporting event, she is only ranked 57th out of 61 contenders of the event whose best athlete is 10 minutes faster than her.
“[Phuc] thus has zero chance to win a medal,” her coach Tran Anh Hiep told Tuoi Tre.
The coach added however that Phuc will try her best to ease the disappointment directed towards Team Vietnam as they have yet to snatch any medal while the Games will conclude on Sunday.
Phuc had her first-ever overseas training trip in China’s Kunming last May, and a ten-day practice session at Bradford College in Leeds before entering the Olympic Village.
“The experience she gained from the trips will be helpful as this is the first time Phuc attends an Olympic event,” the coach said.