Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Vietnamese Athletes Ready to Take on Olympics

HA NOI — Though the Vietnamese sports delegation has not set a goal for the number of medals the nation will take home at the Beijing Olympics 2008, which begins tomorrow, athletes have still outlined their own goals for the events.
Hoang Anh Tuan, who left Viet Nam a bit earlier to get familiar with the environment in Beijing, recorded results that were better than the 19 other weightlifters participating in the men’s 56kg category.
However, in order to take home a medal in his category, Tuan, who took gold in the same category at the Good Luck Beijing 2008 tournament in China last January, must lift around 295kg total in both snatch and clean and jerk categories.
Tuan won two gold medals in the men’s 56kg at the Asian Weightlifting Championships, held in Kanazawa, Japan in April, and a silver medal at the Asia Games Doha in Qatar two years ago.
Team members Nguyen Van Hung, Nguyen Thi Hoai Thu and Tran Thi Ngoc Truc are making final preparations for their event at the National Sports Training Centre 2 in HCM City after returning from a training trip in South Korea.
The three-member Vietnamese taekwondo team has set a goal to win three medals at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing this month by gaining two wins to secure places in the semi-finals.
Bad-minton to the bone
As the latest draw, Vietnamese top badminton player Nguyen Tien Minh, who was ranked 21st by the World Badminton Federation, was expected to rank in the top 16 in the Beijing event.
Minh was exempted from competing in the first round, and he will play against rivals Indonesian Hidayat and Indonesian Wong Choong Hanin in the second rounds.
In women’s weightlifting, Nguyen Thi Thiet will have a chance to gain a medal if she lifts a total of 230kg in the women’s 63kg, a level which she has actually reached during her Olympic training sessions.
We will overcome
There are also goals for swimmer Nguyen Huu Viet, track and field athletes Nguyen Dinh Cuong and Vu Thi Huong and shooter Nguyen Manh Tuong.
Concretely, Viet must overcome the time of 1.03:72 in the men’s 100m breast stroke. At the 24th Southeast Asian Games in Thailand last December, Viet won the gold medal with the time of 1.03.73.
Asian silver medallist Vu Thi Huong will have to record a sprint time of 11.42 seconds. Meanwhile, 1 minute 05 seconds is the time to beat for Asian bronze medallist Cuong.
In the men’s 50m free pistol, Tuong will need to reach 555-560 points to rank in the top 15. If he restores his old national record of 563 points, he will be able to rank in the top eight.
Meanwhile, in the wushu event – which will not be presented in the official competition programme – the golden hopes have been put on the shoulders of Luong Thi Hoa, Vu Tra My, Vu Thuy Linh and Nguyen Huy Thanh.
The 52-member team, including 21 athletes, arrived in Beijing on Tuesday and will compete in nine events including taekwondo, weightlifting, badminton, table tennis, gymnastics, shooting, track and field and wushu.
President of the Vietnam National Olympics Committee Nguyen Danh Thai said that the taekwondo artists would go to Beijing on August 15 to compete on August 18, while the other athletes that were now in Beijing were fit and determined to bring glory to the nation.
The team held a light training session right after they arrived at the Olympic Village.They were scheduled to meet State President Nguyen Minh Triet at the Vietnamese Embassy in Beijing today, and to hold a ceremony to raise the national flag at the Olympic Village on Saturday. — VNS

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