Runner competes in world championship for the first time

By Hieu Luong   August 18, 2023 | 03:33 am PT
Thanks to special qualification, Nguyen Thi Oanh will attend World Athletics Championships for the first time, as the only Vietnamese athlete at the tournament.

Oanh will only participate in the women's 1,500m run which starts on Saturday. Among 56 participating athletes, she attended thanks to special qualification, although her result alone was not enough to make it to the tournament.

The 29-year-old runner has been in Hungary since August 16 with coach Tran Van Sy. If Oanh passes the first stage on Saturday, she will advance to the semifinals on Sunday evening. The final of the women’s 1,500m will take place on August 22.

Quach Thi Loan competes in the Asian Athletics Championships in July 2023. Photo by Asian Athletics Championships

Quach Thi Loan competes in the Asian Athletics Championships in July 2023. Photo by Asian Athletics Championships

It’s very difficult for Oanh to compete for medals or even make it past the first stage. Her best time in the 1,500 m run is 4 minutes 13.88 seconds at the 2020 national championship, while many athletes in this tournament finish in under 4 minutes and 5 seconds.

In 2023, Oanh's best time was 4 minutes 16.85 seconds when she won the SEA Games 32 gold medal, but with this result, she is only 424th in the world.

At the 2023 Asian Athletics Championships in Thailand, Oanh ranked fifth with a time of 4 minutes 18.84 seconds.

The favorite to win the women’s 1,500m gold medal is defending champion Faith Kipyegon of Kenya. The 30-year-old sprinter won two 1,500m Olympic gold medals in 2016 and 2020, two world gold medals in 2017 and 2022. She also holds three world records.

Before Oanh, Vietnamese athletics often had only one athlete attend the World Championships and didn’t have good results.

In 2022, Quach Thi Lan competed in the women's 400m hurdles and ranked 35th. In 2019, Ngan Ngoc Nghia was eliminated after the first stage of the men's 100m run.

The 2023 World Athletics Championship will be held in Hungary from August 19 to 27 at the National Athletics Centre in Budapest.

Besides Vietnam, 10 other Southeast Asian athletes will also compete in Budapest, including Singaporean sprint queen Shanti Pereira, who won two gold medals in the women's 100m and 200m run at the 2023 Asian Athletics Championships.

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