According to Thien, the first step of the plan is to select the most outstanding athletes for the Games.
“There is no time to think. We have to do it now. We have athletes who have already reached the world level. I want managers, coaches and experts to sit down together to build a plan, which will be popularised for public opinion before the final decision of sending athletes to the best venues and destinations for training and competition. Through these activities, we could find the best ones for the Games. It is not a difficult job,” he said.
At the upcoming tournament in August, Vietnam plans to take part in about 20 of the 40 sports. Karate, wushu and pencak silat are the sports in which players stand a chance to win gold medals.
The other sports, which are believed to have athletes on top of the podium, are weightlifting, tracks-and-field, swimming and shooting.
“More than 400 athletes and 85 coaches will be summoned in five different centres for the Games. Apart from taking part in domestic competitions, key athletes will be sent abroad for international events. We also plan to hire 15 foreign trainers for some sports, which are believed to have a chance of bringing gold medals,” said Hoang Quoc Vinh, head of the Elite Sports Department 1 of the National Sports Administration.
“This year, we will also apply science and technology of biomedicine, psychology-education and solutions of nutrition and fitness recovery in the training activities. The best training equipment and competition clothes will be given to all national training centres so that athletes can enjoy the best environment and conditions,” he said.
According to Nguyen Manh Hung, chief of the Secretariat of the Athletics Department, apart from martial arts such as karate and wushu, which brought Vietnam gold medals in the previous Games,
Vietnamese runners could vie for gold in several categories.
“This year, the athletics department has been given a 4 billion VND (179,000 USD) budget. The money will be spent on key athletes to reach our target. We have high hopes in the women’s 400m and 400m hurdle and especially the women’s long jump event,” Hung said.
The tracks-and-field team had an outstanding year in 2017 with two Asian championships’ titles for runner Nguyen Thi Huyen in the women’s 400m hurdle and for Bui Thi Thu Thao in the women’s long jump. The duo also contributed four medals to Vietnam’s record of 17 golds at the 29th SEA Games in Malaysia.
Hung said there were plans to send athletes to train abroad. Runners such as Quach Cong Lich, Quach Thi Lan and Le Tu Chinh will enjoy their courses in the US.
Head of the Weightlifting Department Do Dinh Khang said his lifters Thach Kim Tuan and Trinh Van Vinh, world champions in the men’s 56-kg and 62-kg categories, respectively, would receive special focus to win ASIAD golds. Another hope could be Tran Thi My Dung, who took a silver in the Asian Championship 2017.
Shooting coach Nguyen Thi Nhung said there were plans of training Olympic winner Hoang Xuan Vinh so that he could regain his top form in 2018.
Nhung, General Secretary of the Shooting Department, said these activities were aimed at helping world No 1 Vinh grab his first-ever ASIAD title that he regrettably missed in the previous Games.
In gymnastics, Asian and SEA Games champion Le Thanh Tung is expected to make a break. His senior teammates Pham Phuoc Hung, Dang Nam and Dinh Phuong Thanh are working hard to change the colour of their two bronze medals that they won at the Incheon Games four years ago.
In swimming, trio Nguyen Thi Anh Vien, Nguyen Huy Hoang and Nguyen Huu Kim Son will have to try their best for a target of one gold.
In Incheon, Vietnam won one gold, 10 silver and 25 bronze medals to rank No 21. The country’s best result was four golds at the Busan Games in 2002.