Vietnam’s disabled sport moves towards continental and world levels

The eighth ASEAN Para Games (APG2015) concluded in Singapore on December 9, having left deep impressions in the hearts of participants. As for the Vietnamese contingent, the APG2015 has been considered a success as the country’s athletes not only reached the medal target but also managed to break 16 records, creating a premise for further breakthroughs at next year’s Paralympic Games in Brazil.

Powerlifter Chau Hoang Tuyet Loan bags a gold medal for Vietnam at the APG2015.
Powerlifter Chau Hoang Tuyet Loan bags a gold medal for Vietnam at the APG2015.

>>> Vietnam finishes APG2015 campaign with 48 gold medals

Most noticeable among Vietnam’s records established at the Games was the new record set by Can Tho-born swimmer Nguyen Thanh Trung. Despite being paralysed from the waist down, Trung performed outstandingly to complete the 100m breaststroke SB4 race in 1:48.93 and break the Asian record, which was more valuable as it surpassed the old record of 1:50.91 previously set by Trung at the 2014 Asian Para Games in the Republic of Korea.

Alongside Trung’s brilliant performance, his teammates smashed another nine APG records, leading Vietnam’s swimming team to top the overall swimming medal tally with 19 golds. They were proud moments for both Vietnamese supporters and athletes in Singapore as Anh Khoa (four gold medals), Thanh Tung (three golds) and Tien Dat (two golds) took to the podium to sing the national anthem and witness the raising of the national flag.

Regarding athletics, Nguyen Thi Thuy was the Games’ oldest gold medalist. At the age of 52, Thuy demonstrated her vigor winning gold medals in the 100m and 200m sprints – the two most popular events for young athletes – in addition to claiming another title in the high jump. Nguyen Hoang Minh dominated in the three medium distances for the visually impaired athletes: 400m, 800m and 1,500m, while Le Van Manh cruised to gold medals in the 100m and 200m sprints, in addition to the 400m event. Lai Thi Ngoc Anh set an APG record in the women’s long jump F44 event conquering a distance of 381cm. With 17 gold medals, the athletics team contributed the second largest number of gold medals to Vietnam’s tally, behind the swimming team.

Despite a modest number of competition disciplines, Vietnam’s powerlifters strived to rank first among ten participating teams winning six of the total 19 gold medals on offer, three of which broke the APG records. The lift of 178kg by Le Van Cong in the men’s 49kg event surpassed the 177kg result that secured him a gold medal at the 2015 Asian Powerlifting Championships in Hong Kong (China) last July. However, Cong still felt slight regret as he was unable to break his own world record of 182kg.

With a collection of 48 gold medals, the Vietnamese parasports delegation reached the target of winning from 45 to 50 golds set prior to the Games. Furthermore, the 16 new records, including two Asian records, set by its athletes at the APG2015, allow Vietnamese sports to look towards greater successes on the continental and world levels in the future.

Bidding farewell to the APG2015, athletes have returned home to their families and some will possibly be unable to pursue their professional sporting career further. However, it is for sure that sport has boosted their confidence, inspiring them to overcome difficulties and make continued efforts to achieve in life – the goal in which the whole society is moving towards.