A two-time Olympic swimmer has suffered three consecutive losses to local athletes out of nearly 20 events that she registered to compete at Vietnam’s national sports festival this year.
Nguyen Thi Anh Vien, 22, who swam at London 2012 and Rio 2016 and was believed to easily win every available medal at such a competition as the 2018 National Sports Festival, has turned out to be defeatable in the home pool.
Her latest failure was a bow to the 21-year-old swimmer Le Thi My Thao from the southern province of Binh Phuoc in women’s 100m butterfly at the ongoing competition on Monday night.
Vien finished second in 1:02.24, nearly two seconds slower than her younger fellow in 1:00.80.
The news may raise many eyebrows in the same way as the decision to make Vien ‘win it all’ by registering her in all 17 categories, as a representative of the military sporting unit did last month.
It was criticized as “using a cannon to kill a mosquito” as the star swimmer has long been considered a ‘treasure’ for Vietnam’s swimming with a tall list of achievements since a young age.
In particular, Vien snatched ten different gold medals at the 2011 National Swimming Championship and two silvers at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Indonesia the same year, when she was only 15.
She also made her Olympics debut as the youngest athlete of Team Vietnam at London 2012, and played her second Olympic journey in Brazil four years later.
Prior to Monday night’s defeat, Vien placed fifth in women’s 100m breaststroke on Sunday in 1:15.64, 4.64 seconds behind the gold medalist Vu Thi Phuong Anh.
The two-time Olympic swimmer even could not make it through the qualification round to the women’s 50m breaststroke final on Saturday.
To be fair, the swimmer did contribute six out of seven gold medals of her team in other events, including women’s 100m backstroke and 1500m freestyle, putting the squad currently at the top of the table.
But it is not such a big honor as her clocking 17:11.75 in the latter event was far behind her best record of 17:02.19 at the 2014 National Sports Festival.
In other categories on the same day of the national sporting festival, Tran Duy Khoi of the Ho Chi Minh City delegation won the gold medal in men’s 100m backstroke in 55.49 seconds and broke his own record of 55.87 seconds set in 2014, while young Asian-gold-medalist Nguyen Huy Hoang earned the central province of Quang Binh’s team the highest prize in men’s 400m freestyle in 3:50.72.
The 2018 National Sports Festival, which takes place every four years, runs from November 15 to December 10.
This year’s edition is contested by 7,000 athletes in 734 events of 36 sports, according to the organizing board.