Vietnamese athletics has been prevented from making progress by long-lasting problems such as a lack of knowledge, low income and an absence of scientific methods in recruiting athletes.
As a result, most coaches and athletes do not want to be promoted to play for Vietnamese national teams, according to coaches and sports experts attending a conference on youth athletic training in Hanoi on Tuesday.
Iconic athletic coach Ho Thi Tu Tam told the meeting, “It is not easy to promote a qualified coach from a provincial team to work for the national team.
“They are often better paid by provinces than by national teams.”
In addition, their family is well settled in their home province, so they do not want to move to Hanoi, where national sports teams are based, Tam added.
Another issue is that Vietnam lacks qualified coaches for athletics.
Most Vietnamese athletic coaches are not well trained, Tam said.
It often takes a good coach 13 years of experience, including eight years of coaching in provinces and five more years of assisting foreign coaches, to accumulate knowledge and experience.
In reality most athletic coaches get into a coaching career after playing the sport for years so coaching experience is a ‘luxury’ to many of them.
Vietnam has a rule that athletes with rich competition achievements will be admitted into sports universities when they end their competition career to become coaches later.
However, it is not ensured that they can fill in the gap of basic academic knowledge in high school when they travel for competitions, not to mention taking on a bigger ‘study load’ at university, according to Tam.
Such problems have prevented youths from training for elite competitions.
High jump coach Nguyen Duy Bang, a well known high jumper before, admitted that it is a challenge to find and recruit prospective youths to train in athletics.
“Many youths with suitable stature to train in athletics don’t like this sport,” he said, adding that they just come to train for a period and then drop out.
Addressing the conference, Doctor Le Duc Chuong – head of the Da Nang Sports University – mentioned one factor that Vietnam has ignored when recruiting and training athletes: genetic testing.
Genetic testing is a scientific way to identify the dominant strengths of a person, helping to guide them toward a suitable sport.
In Vietnam, all athletes are recruited through the experience of their trainers.