HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam Team chief-de-mission Trần Đức Phấn declared that Việt Nam’s athletes are ready to compete at the coming 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and will bring home the best results.
“After months of careful and responsible preparation, Vietnamese athletes, coaches, experts and other members are confident to take part in the 31st SEA Games,” said Phấn at the sending-off ceremony on Thursday in Hà Nội. He is also deputy head of the SEA Games Organising Committee.
He said more than 1,400 athletes and nearly 300 coaches have been summoned to carry out Việt Nam’s duty at the regional event.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has strongly affected their preparations, along with many other difficulties, the team has received strong support from the government and sponsors to be ready to give their best performance.
They have set a target of 140 gold medals from 40 sports to top the overall medal tally. In particular, they will defend their No.1 position in both men’s and women’s competitions.
“On behalf of the delegation, I take the assignment. Our athletes will compete with all of their effort and determination to bring home gold medals,” said Phấn.
Deputy Prime Minister Phạm Bình Minh attended the ceremony and wished Vietnamese athletes a successful SEA Games to lift Việt Nam’s position in the world of sports.
Speaking at the event, Deputy Prime Minister Minh said SEA Games is not only a sports competition but also a festival, where athletes will join together to strengthen the solidarity and development of ASEAN countries, following the Games’ slogan: “For a Stronger Southeast Asia”.
“I recognise and appreciate the effort of the committees, organisations and individuals, especially the athletes and coaches, to overcome the many challenges in organising and taking part in the event,” said Deputy Prime Minister Minh.
He asked each member of the delegation to be well aware of the glorious tasks entrusted by the Party and State. Participants should always strive in the spirit of solidarity, with the highest intelligence and determination for national pride, competing to achieve the best results at the Games to raise the position of Vietnamese Sports to new heights and affirm the long-standing cultural tradition of Việt Nam.
On behalf of athletes, swimmer Nguyễn Huy Hoàng promised to do their best to secure the highest results while respecting regulations and sportsmanship.
SEA Games’ first record
Việt Nam has set a national record for the number of athletes participating at the 31st SEA Games in May.
As the hosts, Việt Nam has a contingent of 1,341 people, the largest ever in the 45-year history of the Games.
Among them, 965 are athletes, supported by 30 officials, 31 doctors, and hundreds of coaches and experts and logistic staff.
Trần Đức Phấn, Vice Chairman of the Việt Nam Sports Administration (VSA), is the chief-de-mission. He is assisted by Hoàng Quốc Vinh, head of the Elite Sports 1 Department and Ngô Ích Quân, head of the Elite Sports 1 Department 2.
The team will compete in all 40 sports organised in Hà Nội and 11 nearby localities.
Thailand will send a delegation of 871 athletes, Malaysia 654, the Philippines 643, Indonesia 541, Cambodia 494, Singapore 474, Laos 363, Myanmar 352, East Timor 69 and Brunei 24.
It is expected that more than 10,000 participants in total will land in Việt Nam in the next few days.
They will compete from May 12-23 with football and some other sports beginning days earlier than the opening ceremony.
Việt Nam targets 140 gold medals to top the regional biennial sport meet that they host for the second time, following the first time in 2003.
Việt Nam will not have all of its best athletes, such as Olympian winning marksman Hoàng Xuân Vinh, who now works as a coach; multi-time SEA Games swimming champion Nguyễn Thị Ánh Viên, who has retired from international competition; and WBO boxing champion Nguyễn Thị Thu Nhi, who is busy with the world championship organised at the same time as the Games; and sprint queen Lê Tú Chinh, who suffered a knee injury and cannot recover in time.
However, the hosts are still confident with many other golden faces such as swimmer Nguyễn Huy Hoàng, chess prodigy Lê Quang Liêm, runner Nguyễn Thị Oanh and taekwondo fighter Trương Thị Kim Tuyền.
“Apart from athletes who have recorded remarkable achievements, in this Games, we will also send a number of young talents who will learn, gain experience and sharpen the skills that will be good for them in the future,” said Vinh, head of the Elite Sports 1 Department.
“These athletes have recently recorded results that are close to SEA Games’ top three. This will be an opportunity for them to show off their abilities.”
At the previous Games in the Philippines, Việt Nam placed second behind the hosts, bringing home 98 golds, 86 silvers and 105 bronzes. — VNS