Vietnamese swimmer Nguyen Huy Hoang has secured a berth in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo after smashing a Southeast Asian (SEA) Games record and taking home the gold medal in men’s 1,500m freestyle at the ongoing 30th SEA Games in the Philippines on Thursday.
Hoang finished the 1,500m freestyle at the New Clark City Aquatics Center in 14 minutes and 58.14 seconds, shattering the SEA Games’ previous record, which he also set, of 15:20.10.
Aflah Fadlan Prawira of Indonesia and Vietnam’s Nguyen Huu Kim Son brought home the silver and bronze medals in the event, respectively.
Hoang’s lightning-fast 14:58.14 finish not only earned him a gold medal, but also a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“Breaking my own record is great,” Hoang was quoted as saying by the Inquirer.
“It is the sweet result I earned from working very hard to prepare for the Games."
"It is my contribution to the country by pushing myself.”
|Vietnamese swimmer Nguyen Huy Hoang (C) receives the gold medal in the men’s 1,500m freestyle event at the 30th SEA Games in New Clark City, the Philippines on December 5, 2019. Photo: Hoang Tuan / Tuoi Tre
Team Vietnam captain Tran Duc Phan told the Inquirer he has high hopes for Hoang’s performance at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“The coaches told me [Hoang] could win gold and an Olympic berth prior to the Games,” Phan was quoted as saying.
“He is a special athlete. He will receive more support at the next level."
"I believe Hoang can do something in Tokyo.”
The SEA Games are a biennial event governed by the Southeast Asian Games Federation under the supervision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Council of Asia.
The first edition was held in 1959 and it has since grown to be one of the region’s largest sporting events, hosting athletes from the 11 countries that make up Southeast Asia.
This year’s SEA Games kicked off in the Philippines on November 30 and will last until December 11 as athletes compete in 530 events across 56 sports.
Vietnam’s delegation to the 2019 SEA Games consists of 568 athletes competing in 43 sports.