HÀ NỘI — Runner Phạm Thị Hồng Lệ has broken the women’s 10,000m national record, previously set by Nguyễn Thị Oanh in 2020, on the closing day of the National Athletics Championship.
“I am very happy to have done something wonderful in my career. It will forever be a mark in my life,” Lệ told Việt Nam News.
After using all her energy in the sprint finish, Lệ collapsed after crossing the line and had to be helped away. This type of commitment is typical of Lệ. At New Clark City Stadium in the Philippines two years ago she won bronze, though she was so exhausted after competing that she had to be supported to reach the podium.
This time, the native of Bình Định Province went the extra mile.
“When the bell rang with one lap left to run, I looked at the clock in the stadium and knew I could break a national record, so I just put all my strength into moving forward,” said Lệ.
“Before entering the competition, I cherished the goal of breaking the national record but did not to tell anyone. I knew that Oanh’s previous record was very tough to beat and I was afraid that I was not strong enough to do it.
“But when I reached the finish line and I saw that I had broken the national record, I was very happy because I did something beyond my ability,” she added.
Lệ completed the women’s 10,000m event with a time of 34:01.59, breaking the old record of 34:08.54 set by SEA Games gold medallist Oanh last year.
The previous record has been set by Đoàn Nữ Trúc Vân in 2003; not many people thought that there would be a new national record this year, especially when defending champion Oanh withdrew at the last minute.
But the heart and mind of the girl born in 1998 helped her do the unthinkable: breaking Oanh’s national record by nearly seven seconds.
In the past three years at the National Athletics Championship, Lệ has made remarkable progress in the 10,000m event.
In the 2019 tournament in HCM City, Lệ achieved 35:58.40, before reaching 34:30.61 last year, which was also better than the old national record of Trúc Vân.
This year, Lệ continued to improve her record to 34:01.59 at the Mỹ Đình National Stadium in Hà Nội.
Dương Đức Thủy, former head of athletics section of the National Sports Administration and former head coach of the national team, said: “I could not have imagined that Lệ would be able to do this in the context of training being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a parameter that is close to the regional record and can be completely reduced to less than 34 minutes.”
The Southeast Asian record in the women’s 10,000m race is currently 32:49.47 set by Indonesian athlete Triyaningsih at the 2009 SEA Games in Laos.
At the 31st SEA Games, which Việt Nam will host next May, Lệ will have all the motivation she needs to strive for the 10,000m gold medal that she lacks, in addition to competing in the marathon.
At the previous Games, Lệ won silver medal in the 10,000m after clocking a time of 36:32.24, while Vietnamese athlete Phạm Thị Huệ won gold with a time of 36:23.24.
After five days of competition, the National Athletics Championships closed on Monday.
The Military team taking the lead after gaining nine golds, 12 silvers and five bronzes. Hà Nội were the runners-up with eight golds, 10 silvers and seven bronzes. HCM City came to third with seven golds, four silvers and four bronzes.
This year’s event attracted 42 teams nationwide, vying for 50 sets of medals.
According to Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, general secretary of the Việt Nam Athletics Federation, despite the impact of the COVID-19, three national records were broken. Athletes of the national teams still occupied the top positions in their events, though in many categories, young athletes began gradually asserting themselves.
Through the event, the best athletes will be selected for the upcoming SEA Games. They will be called to train from January 1.
In addition, the event’s organising board did a good job in pandemic prevention. Under the direction of the Hà Nội Department of Health, the organisers developed a detailed plan on pandemic prevention, fully complying with the rules of the Ministry of Health. VNS