Self-funded athlete secures Rio Olympic place

By Pham Van   March 22, 2016 | 02:16 am PT
Race walker Nguyen Thanh Ngung paid his own way to a qualifying event in Japan where he secured a place at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
Nguyen Thanh Ngung (321) at Nomi, Japan. Photo by Duc Dong

Nguyen Thanh Ngung (number 321) competing in Nomi, Japan. Photo: Duc Dong

Nguyen Thanh Ngung qualified for a spot on the Vietnam Olympic team during the Asian Race Walking Championships in Nomi, Japan on March 20. Ngung finished the 20 kilometer event in 1:23:29, coming in 31 second under the Olympic qualification mark of 1:24:00.

He was not considered a strong chance to qualify, so his trip to the event was not funded by the Vietnam Directorate of Sports. Meanwhile, Ngung’s sister, Thanh Phuc, was given financial support from the directorate as she was seen as more likely to make the Olympic mark. However, she was disqualified during the event for committing three fouls.

To be able to compete in Japan, Ngung received support from in his hometown of Da Nang. Ngung won a bronze medal at the 2011 Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia and silver in the same event two years later. However, he picked up an injury during the 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore and subsequently fell out of favor with Vietnam’s sporting authorities. 

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