Difficulties await Vietnam at pandemic-haunted Olympics

By Hoang Nguyen   July 15, 2021 | 09:46 am GMT+7
Difficulties await Vietnam at pandemic-haunted Olympics
A staff standing in front of Olympic rings reacts while waiting for the arrival of foreign athletes at Haneda Airport, Japan, July 8, 2021. Photo by Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon.
Vietnamese athletes could face certain problems during their stay in Tokyo Olympics, as they cannot make specific accomodation and training plans given the Covid situations.

"Normally, before a major event like this, we would send a crew there to scout for accommodation as well as training locations. However, this time we couldn’t send anyone to Japan before the Olympics due to Covid-19 travel restrictions and other factors. We are quite worried as the organizers only informed us about Covid-19 prevention measures, but has yet to let us know about other important things like training for athletes," an official of the Department of Physical Education and Sports told Thanh Nien newspaper.

It’s expected the Vietnam delegation would be fully assembled in Tokyo on July 19. All members were vaccinated for Covid-19 twice. They will also have to test negative for Covid thrice three days before flying to Tokyo.

In Tokyo, the delegation will also have to follow strict measures set by the organizers.

"We will get tested constantly during our time there. We are not allowed to have close contact or talk to other delegations. We will eat our meals in the dining hall of the Olympic Village within a fixed time frame to avoid other delegations. We might even have to eat in our rooms if the situation gets complicated," said Truong Minh Sang, coach of Vietnam’s gymnastics team.

Athletes are prohibited to leave the Olympic Village (except for competing and training) without approval from organizers. Vietnam will only be allowed to travel to 11 competition venues of 11 sports for which it has qualified. Coaches will have to sit on the stand instead of standing on the sideline.

Among the 18 Olympic athletes, the most likely medal contenders are weightlifter Thach Kim Tuan, swimmer Nguyen Huy Hoang and shooter Hoang Xuan Vinh. Tuan didn’t have the best preparation for the event due to Covid-19. After the Olympic qualifiers in April, he had to stay in quarantine for 30 days, which affected his form as well as training.

The pandemic also prevented Hoang from competing in international tournaments. However, with four categories in Tokyo, he is expected to claim at least one medal for Vietnam.

Vinh is the only representative of Vietnamese shooting. He was chosen for the invitation slot because of his experience at Olympic 2016, where he won a gold and a silver medal. In recent training sessions, Vinh achieved great scores of around 580-582 - results that could take him to the final.

The Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to Aug. 8.

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