A 15-strong contingent from Vietnam Team has been putting in place the final touches for the Tokyo Paralympics Games.
|Vo Thanh Tung. (Illustrative image. – Photo: dtinews)|
Seven athletes will compete in swimming, athletics and powerlifting.
Vietnam 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 Dang Van Phuc said his track-and-field team had four athletes earning their Paralympics' official slots. Now only javelin thrower Cao Ngoc Hung and discus thrower Nguyen Thi Hai can travel to Tokyo.
The powerlifting team had then same problem. After all four athletes lost their places, defending champion Le Van Cong and his female teammate Chau Hoang Tuyet Loan received wild cards for the Games but Nguyen Binh An and Dang Thi Linh Phuong could not attend.
The swimming team also had to drop five members. The representatives now are Vo Thanh Tung, Trinh Thi Bich Nhu and Do Thanh Hai.
"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 Tung who has been locked into the Da Nang'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 Cong is recovering from a shoulder injury and his coach Nguyen Hong Phuc 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 Nguyen Hong Minh, deputy director of the Vietnam 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, Vietnam won one gold medal thanks to a record lift by Cong, one silver through swimmer Tung and two bronze medals for Hung and Loan.
Source: Vietnam News
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