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Vietnamese athletics determined to defend regional throne

By Hoang Nguyen   April 20, 2022 | 04:43 pm PT
Vietnamese athletics determined to defend regional throne
Vietnam's track queen Nguyen Thi Oanh at the national athletics championship in 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
Vietnam have ruled the race tracks in recent SEA Games and this year is expected to be no exception.

Athletics in SEA Games 31 will have 47 categories and 500 participants, including coaches, athletes and experts. All athletics events will be held in My Dinh National Sports Complex in Hanoi from May 14 to 19.

For SEA Games 31, the Vietnam national athletics team bring 25 coaches, experts and 80 athletes. Their target is to win around 16-18 gold medals to secure the number one spot in Southeast Asia.

Vietnam Athletics Federation (VAF) predicted that there's 80 percent chance that Vietnam would win gold medals in at least 10 categories, of which eight are for female athletes. These are the categories that Vietnam have proved to be superior to other opponents in the region based on previous results. VAF said if the athletes could keep their form and avoid injuries as well as making mistakes, the gold medals are surely within their reach.

Another interesting prediction from VAF is that there are some athletes that have claimed gold at previous SEA Games but their chance of winning this year was down to 50 percent. An example is Vietnamese "pace queen" Le Tu Chinh, who had won the women’s 100 meters in the last SEA Games. But for the last three years, Kristina Knott of the Philippines has emerged as a contender for the SEA Games gold.

Knott’s best result in the 100 meters recently was 11.28 seconds, while Chinh hit 11.40. In the 200 meters, Knott is also a great challenge for Chinh. The Filipino's best result is 23.01 seconds compared to Chinh's 23.32 seconds.

The improvement of athletes from Thailand and the Philippines in recent years has raised the bar for the competition. The defending gold medalist of the men's 400 meters Tran Nhat Hoang will face stiff competition from Thailand's Phitchaya Sunthonthuam and Trenten Anthony Beram of the Philippines. The best result of Beram is 46.01 seconds, with Sunthonthuam hitting 46.46 and Hoang, only 46.96.

Vietnam's track queen Nguyen Thi Oanh is predicted to bring Vietnam its first athletics gold medal in SEA Games 31 when she competes in the women's 1,500 meters on May 14. She won three gold medals in the last SEA Games and her form remains fantastic.

In the past two years, Vietnamese athletes haven't had a chance to compete in international tournaments, which is the main concern for athletes.

However, this problem has also affected athletes from other countries in the region.

 
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