Gymnast Dinh Phuong Thanh competes at the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong.
Gymnast Dinh Phuong Thanh became the sixth Vietnamese athlete to qualify for the 2021 Summer Olympics in Japan.
Truong Minh Sang, Thanh’s coach, said since the gymnastics Olympic qualifier, the All-Around World Cup, scheduled for May 4 was scrapped due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the remaining slots would be allocated based on 2019 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships results, in which Thanh ranked 75th in the men’s individual all-around with 77,465 points.
But with many qualified gymnasts in the Asian region having already secured their team slots, Thanh earned one of the remaining two slots as one of the highest-performing Asian competitors at the previous world championships.
At the same event in Germany, gymnast Le Thanh Tung ranked 59th in the men’s individual all-around with 78,832 points. However, Tung had already pocketed an Olympic ticket as the fifth pommel horse gymnast of the discipline. As a result, the last spot for Vietnam gymnastics at the Tokyo Olympics was passed to Thanh.
Both 25-year-old gymnasts will compete in the Olympics for the first time.
Thanh won three consecutive gold medals in parallel bars during the past three editions of SEA Games.
He had also won a total eight SEA Games gold medals while Tung scored five.
Similar to 2016 Rio Olympics, Vietnamese gymnastics will be represented by two athletes.
Four other Vietnamese athletes who had already qualified for the Olympics are Nguyen Huy Hoang (swimming), Do Thi Anh Nguyet and Nguyen Hoang Phi Vu (archery) and Nguyen Van Duong (boxing).
The Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to take place between July 23 and Aug. 8, 2021 featuring 33 disciplines.