The Vietnamese athletics team was awarded VND1 billion (US$43,122) by the Vietnam Young Talent Support Fund, Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper, and the Vietnam Athletics Federation on Tuesday for winning a dominating 22 gold medals at the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games that just concluded last month.
The Vietnam Young Talent Support Fund and Tien Phong contributed VND730 million ($31,479) of the amount.
The Vietnamese athletics team participating in the 31st SEA Games included one manager, 20 coaches, and 65 athletes, who competed in 41 out of 47 categories of the sport.
They won a total of 22 gold medals, 14 silvers, and eight bronzes, and broke two records of the Games to top the standing while second-finisher Thailand brought home 12 gold medals.
This is Vietnam athletics’ best result so far in the regional sporting event’s history.
Nguyen Thi Oanh with three individual golds, Nguyen Van Lai with two individual golds, and Nguyen Thi Huyen and Quach Thi Lan with two gold medals were among the greatest contributors to the achievement.
Notably, Hoang Nguyen Thanh won Vietnam’s first-ever gold medal in the men’s marathon and Nguyen Linh Na earned another in the women’s heptathlon with a result that surpassed the national record and ended the country’s 17-year drought.
|Nguyen Thi Oanh celebrates her gold medal for the Vietnamese athletics team at the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Vietnam, May 2022. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre
The 31st SEA Games, which boasted 526 categories in 40 sports, took place in Hanoi and 11 neighboring provinces and cities from May 12 to 23.
The biennial event was originally scheduled to be held from November 21 to December 2, 2021 but was postponed after Vietnam saw a flare-up of COVID-19 cases in late April the same year.
Up to 7,878 athletes, coaches, and members from 11 sports delegations in Southeast Asia registered for the event.
Vietnam’s delegation to this year’s SEA Games consisted of 951 athletes competing in 508 categories, 250 coaches, 30 experts, and 46 team managers.
They wrapped up the event atop of the medal table with 205 gold medals, 125 silvers, and 116 bronzes, far exceeding their target of claiming 140-150 gold medals, and breaking the previous gold medal record set by Indonesia in 1997.
This is the second time that Vietnam has hosted the SEA Games, following its first time in 2003.
After the SEA Games, the Vietnamese athletics team began training in preparation for the 19th Asian Games, scheduled for September 10 to 25 in Zhejiang, China, with the goal of winning one to two gold medals and two to three tickets to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.