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Vietnam’s athletics squad ends Asian Games empty-handed

Vietnam’s athletics squad ends Asian Games empty-handed

Friday, October 06, 2023, 09:02 GMT+7
Vietnam’s athletics squad ends Asian Games empty-handed
A member of the Vietnamese athletics team is exhausted after the women’s 4x400m relay event at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, October 4, 2023. Photo: Duc Khue / Tuoi Tre

The Vietnamese athletics team finished its appearance at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, with little success to show for its efforts.

Shattered hopes

The Vietnamese athletics delegation to this year’s Asian Games put much of its hope in Nguyen Thi Ngoc, Hoang Thi Minh Hanh, Nguyen Thi Huyen, and Nguyen Thi Hang – the four runners selected to represent the country in the women’s 4x400m relay event on Wednesday evening.

But hope was not enough to keep the athletic squad’s medal dreams alive.

Despite their efforts, the four Vietnamese runners failed to recreate their gold medal performance from July’s 2023 Asian Athletics Championships in Thailand.

Though their 3:31.61 finish at the Asian games bested their 3:32.36 performance in July, the level of competition in China was just too high to secure anything higher than fourth place.

According to local sports pundits, the level of competition at the Asian Games far exceeds that of other regional competitions.

Some countries, like Sri Lanka and India, often save their A-squad for the Asian Games and let less-experienced runners compete in other regional events. 

Other countries, like regional powerhouse Bahrain, do not even both competing in “lesser” tournaments. 

As such, squads like Vietnam were thrown off when India and Sri Lanka made surprise lineup changes to their respective women’s 4x400m relay rosters.

Bahrain wound up taking the gold medal in the 4x400m event posting a time of 3:27.65, followed by India at 3:27.85, and Sri Lanka at 3:30.88.

Vietnamese athlete Nguyen Thi Huyen (R) races the women’s 4x400m relay event at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, October 4, 2023. Photo: Duc Khue / Tuoi Tre
Vietnamese athlete Nguyen Thi Huyen (R) races the women’s 4x400m relay event at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, October 4, 2023. Photo: Duc Khue / Tuoi Tre

The four Vietnamese runners were not shy about showing their disappointment with the results in post-race interviews.

“That was our best performance,” said Minh Hanh, the team’s second runner.

“We gave it our all and fought fiercely. 

"We were neck and neck with the bronze medal winners.”

Downhill performance

At the 18th Asian Games, Vietnam brought home two gold medals and three bronze medals in athletics events, allowing it to establish itself as a force to be reckoned with in Southeast Asian sports.

However, the 19th Asian Games saw a downturn in Vietnam’s performance, with the country securing no medals by the time athletics events officially concluded on Thursday. 

In contrast, Singapore emerged as the top Southeast Asian team, clinching one gold medal and one silver medal. 

Following closely behind were the Philippines with one gold medal, Thailand with two silvers, and Malaysia with three bronzes.

The decline was not limited to just the medal tally but also extended to the general athletic prowess of Vietnamese track and field athletes.

During the women’s 1,500m final on the evening of October 1, Nguyen Thi Oanh clocked a time of 4:24.19 – her slowest performance of the year.

In the men’s 1,500m final, Luong Duc Phuoc crossed the finish line second to last, recording a time of 3:51.65. 

This result falls far short of his performance at the 2023 Asian Athletics Championships, where he ran the same event in just 3:46.81.

Vietnamese athlete Nguyen Thi Huyen (L, 2nd) comforts her teammates after they finished fourth in the women’s 4x400m relay event at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, October 4, 2023. Photo: Duc Khue / Tuoi Tre
Vietnamese athlete Nguyen Thi Huyen (L, 2nd) comforts her teammates after they finished fourth in the women’s 4x400m relay event at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, October 4, 2023. Photo: Duc Khue / Tuoi Tre

In the men’s 3,000m steeplechase final, Nguyen Trung Cuong finished the race in 8:54.40, but his achievement was invalidated due to failure to clear the barriers. 

Cuong’s most recent notable achievement was a gold-medal finish at the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games with a time of 8:51.99.

In the women’s triple jump final, Nguyen Thi Huong finished in fifth, registering a distance of 13.34 meters. 

Earlier, at the 2023 Asian Athletics Championships, she achieved a longer jump of 13.68 meters.

In the women’s long jump, Bui Thi Thu Thao finished in eighth place with a distance of 6.09 meters. 

In May 2023, at the 32nd SEA Games, she earned a silver medal with a jump of 6.13 meters. 

At the 31st SEA Games in December 2022, she also claimed a silver medal with a jump of 6.38 meters.

At her peak, prior to an injury, Thao won a gold medal at the 2017 SEA Games with a jump of 6.68 meters, a gold medal at the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships with a jump of 6.54 meters, and an Asian Games gold medal in 2018 with a jump of 6.55 meters.

In the women’s 400m hurdles, Nguyen Thi Huyen clocked a time of 58.49 seconds but failed to qualify for the final. 

In contrast, at the 32nd SEA Games, she clinched the gold medal with an impressive time of 56.29 seconds.

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Bao Anh - Hoang Tung - Huy Dang / Tuoi Tre News

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