'Racewalking queen' hangs up boots but vows to return if national team need her

By Duc Dong   January 9, 2024 | 05:24 pm PT
'Racewalking queen' hangs up boots but vows to return if national team need her
Nguyen Thi Thanh Phuc competes in a walk event at SEA Games 32 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in May 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Dong Huyen
"Racewalking queen" Nguyen Thi Thanh Phuc has decided to retire from international sports to make way for young athletes and spend more time with her family.

Her illustrious career includes five SEA Games gold medals, and one silver and one bronze medal at the Asian Race Walking Championships.

The 33-year-old also participated in the 2012 London Olympics and the 2013 World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships.

"For the past 13 years I have been focusing on contributing to Vietnamese racewalking, and now I need to spend time with my family," Phuc told VnExpress on Monday.

"This is also the time for me to try new things like participating in marathon races."

She recently started participating in community marathon events.

At the 2023 VnExpress Marathon in Hai Phong, she ran the full 42 km.

"I feel I have enough strength for the marathon. I will train with discipline to follow my passion."

In her childhood, Phuc often walked a long way to school daily.

After that, she was spotted by athletics coaches, who trained her to become one of the top walkers in Southeast Asia.

Phuc also wants to inspire the next generation of racewalkers in Vietnam.

"I'm old now and I want Vietnamese racewalking to have new talents.

"[However,] next year, if the team need me, I will return for the 2025 SEA Games."

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