Vietnam claimed its first Asian Games track-and-field gold on Monday when Bui Thi Thu Thao reigned the women’s long jump in the 2018 edition of the continent’s top sporting competition in Indonesia.
Thao, 26, jumped into history with a leap of 6.55 meters, 0.04 meters and 0.0.5 meters longer than the Indian runner-up Neena Varakil and bronze medalist Xiaoling Xu of China.
This is the first Asiad gold medal won by a Vietnamese track-and-field athlete, and the second for Team Vietnam at this year’s Games.
The good news from Thao came amid the tense men’s football quarterfinal between Vietnam and Syria.
With the Vietnamese men eventually sealing a historic 1-0 win in extra time to advance to their historic semifinal game, Monday’s night became an unforgettable one for sports lovers in the Southeast Asian country.
The Vietnamese pencak silat team had been expected to make the joy even greater, as they competed in three final games on the same day, starting with the men's team event with one silver.
However, Nguyen Ngoc Toan only finished second in the men’s 60-65kg final, while the duo Tran Duc Danh and Le Hong Quan snatched one silver each in the men’s double and men's team events.
Quach Thi Lan bagged the fourth silver of the day for Team Vietnam, clocking 55.30 seconds in the women’s 400m hurdle event, while Nguyen Thi Oanh earned a women’s 3,000m steeplechase bronze medal in 9:43.83.
With two gold medals, 11 silvers and 13 bronzes, Vietnam rose to the 20th place out of 45 countries and territories in the medal table at the end of Monday, or Day 9 of the 2018 Asian Games.
Team Vietnam was set for competitions in athletics, boxing, Kurash, sepaktakraw and soft tennis on Tuesday.
The 2018 Asian Games takes place in Indonesia from August 18 to September 2 with the theme “Energy of Asia.”
Vietnam’s sports delegation to the Games consists of 532 members, including 352 athletes. It aims to snatch at least three gold medals, with at least one in an Olympic sport.
The target was almost met as four Vietnamese rowers had paddled to top the women’s lightweight quadruple sculls event on August 23.