Wednesday, 11/08/2021 08:33

Việt Nam Team overcome challenges for Tokyo Paralympics


Võ Thanh Tùng is one of Việt Nam's seven athletes to compete at the Tokyo Paralympic Games later this month. AFP/VNA Photo

HÀ NỘI — A 15-strong contingent from Việt Nam Team has been putting in place the final touches for the Tokyo Paralympics Games.

Seven athletes will compete in swimming, athletics and powerlifting.

Việt Nam did have 16 athletes ready to compete, but many lost their places as training schedules and participation in other events was severely disrupted by COVID-19.

For 18 months, they have practised under strict social distancing conditions but had no competitions to test their ability.

Tournaments including the ASEAN ParaGames were either delayed or cancelled or it was difficult to find flights for athletes to take part in events abroad.

Coach Đặng Văn Phúc said his track-and-field team had four athletes earning their Paralympics' official slots. Now only javelin thrower Cao Ngọc Hùng and discus thrower Nguyễn Thị Hải can travel to Tokyo.

The powerlifting team had then same problem. After all four athletes lost their places, defending champion Lê Văn Công and his female teammate Châu Hoàng Tuyết Loan received wild cards for the Games but Nguyễn Bình An and Đặng Thị Linh Phương could not attend.

The swimming team also had to drop five members. The representatives now are Võ Thanh Tùng, Trịnh Thị Bích Như and Đỗ Thanh Hải.

"We had some dry land training periods because pools were closed because of the COVID-19. Instead of swimming, we had to practise in the gym," said Tùng who has been locked into the Đà Nẵng's National Sport Training Centre for months with his teammates. 

This year because of different reasons, no specific targets have been set for the athletes but still they have been asked to show their best performance and determination; strengthen world solidarity; and learn from international friends.

World record holder Công is recovering from a shoulder injury and his coach Nguyễn Hồng Phúc said he hoped the 37-year-old lifter could defend his title in the men's 49kg class. Meanwhile, Loan is determined to better her bronze medal from the Rio Games in the women's 55kg category.

At 46-years-old, this will be her fifth Paralympics.

The team under Nguyễn Hồng Minh, deputy director of the Việt Nam Sport Administration, will leave for the Games on August 19. They must have PCR tests with negative results within 72 hours of their arrival.

They are asked to practise and compete in the bubble concept while travelling from the airport to their accommodation, at training and competition venues as well as in the dining hall.

The opening ceremony will be held on August 24 and the games will last until September 5.

Five years ago in Rio, Việt Nam won one gold medal thanks to a record lift by Công, one silver through swimmer Tùng and two bronze medals for Hùng and Loan. VNS

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