The Vietnam national taekwondo team. Photo by VnExpress/Dong Huyen.
The Vietnam taekwondo team will undergo an 80-day overseas training starting from April 8 as they attempt to qualify for the Olympics.
The team’s head coach, Vu Anh Tuan, said Vietnam aims to get at least one ticket to the Olympics. The budget for the overseas training will be provided by the Department of Physical Education and Sports and the South Korea Culture Center, he said.
“Vietnamese taekwondo has Olympic qualification hopes in the 49 kg and 57 kg events for women and the 58 kg and 68 kg events for men. The athletes competing at the Olympic qualifiers have been administered the Covid-19 vaccine and all are feeling well,” Tuan said.
As scheduled, the team will first train in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Then they will compete at the Olympic qualification tournament in Jordan from May 15 to 16. Then they will return to Uzbekistan to train for 20 more days before going to Lebanon for the Asian Taekwondo Championships.
Vietnam is aiming for 20 slots at the Olympics. But at the moment, only five athletes have managed to qualify for the event: Nguyen Huy Hoang (swimming), Le Thanh Tung (gymnastics), Do Thi Anh Nguyet and Nguyen Hoang Phi Vu (archery) and Nguyen Van Duong (boxing).
The taekwondo team has chosen Central Asian countries where the Covid-19 pandemic has been controlled well. Other advantages influencing the decision include the fact that Vietnamese athletes won’t have to be quarantined on arrival and that round trips are easily available to these countries, making it easy to fly back and forth.
After the team returns from their long overseas sojourn, a national taekwondo club championship organized by the Vietnam Taekwondo Federation and South Korean Culture Center will be held July 7-14. As many as 800 athletes from 47 clubs in the country will compete in 65 combat categories and 27 performance categories.
The event is highly anticipated by taekwondo athletes and fans in the country after months of not being able to compete because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This will also be used as a selection tournament for the future national team.