Fencers to seek Olympic tickets at Asian zonal championship

By VNA   February 1, 2024 | 03:00 am PT
Fencers to seek Olympic tickets at Asian zonal championship
Fencer Vu Thanh An of Vietnam (L) at the SEA Games 32 in Cambodia in May 2023. Photo by VNA
Vietnamese fencers will seek tickets to the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics at the Asian Qualifying Championship in April in the UAE.

Fencing did make a big bang with four athletes qualifying for the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016, but the team failed to take part in the next games in Tokyo in 2021.

Due to injuries and financial shortages, Vietnamese fencers did not have the chance to compete in 2023 to collect points for their Olympic campaign.

This Asian zonal event will be the last opportunity for them to reach Paris this summer.

Athletes who have already qualified for the Olympics will not take part in this event, and only the winner of the zonal championship will qualify for the Games.

The national team players have practiced intensively since the first day of the year in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

A team of the six best fencers will leave for the Dubai event and compete on April 27-28.

Among them, veteran Vu Thanh An in men's saber and Nguyen Tien Nhat in men's epee are expected to make the mission.

Nhat was the first Vietnamese fencer to earn an Olympic place in history, in 2012. He has been one of the best fencers in the region with many titles from the SEA Games and ASEAN championships.

The 33-year-old Nhat is currently no. 136 in the world and no. 32 in his category. He took one gold and one bronze at the 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia last May.

An made his name internationally by winning two bronzes in Asian championships. He finished in the top 15 at the Rio Olympics, the best result for Vietnam in this competition.

At the Cambodia event, the 32-year-old won one gold and one silver, making him a big winner at the regional biennial sporting event with eight titles in both individual and team categories in five SEA Games editions in a row. He is currently no. 117 in the world and no. 37 in Asia.

According to the coaching board, many strong athletes from the Republic of Korea, Japan and China would not come to Dubai as they have already qualified. This reduces the pressure on the Vietnamese competitors.

An will be the best hope of Vietnam, and he is also determined to have his second time in the Olympics.

"In Dubai, I will have to play six five-point and four 15-point matches to take gold. If I can perform my best, I am confident of winning," he said.

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