Vietnamese veteran figures to compete at SEA Games 31

Source: VNA

Bodybuilder Pham Van Mach joins badminton player Nguyen Tien Minh as few athletes to compete in the upcoming SEA Games 31 and they had previously participated in SEA Games 22 which was also hosted by Vietnam in 2003.

Vietnamese veteran figures to compete at SEA Games 31 hinh anh 1Nguyen Tien Minh in action during men’s singles final at the 2019 National Top Players Badminton Tournament. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)  - Out of the 950 athletes of the Vietnamese delegation attending the 31st Southeast Asian Games, nine have competed in the 22nd edition of the SEA Games that is also hosted by Vietnam, according to the SEA Games 31 Organising Committee.

Bodybuilder Pham Van Mach is one of them. Nineteen years ago, Mach made the name of Vietnam shine at the 2009 World Bodybuilding Championships by bagging a gold medal in the men’s 55kg division. However, being able to attend and win a gold medal in the 60-kg category at the 22nd SEA Games that was held in Vietnam was the most special event in his life. At the age of 46, when he is already the "big brother" of the national team, the veteran athlete is  determined to win one more gold at the 31st SEA Games.

Badminton player Nguyen Tien Minh is another example. At the 22nd SEA Games, Minh was only 20 years old and a greenhorn in the sport. Therefore, despite his efforts, Minh still lost 0-2 to Boonsak Poonsana - Thailand's No. 1 player at that time in the 1/8 round.

It’s the strong determination that has helped Tien Minh make constant progress, joining the group of the top players in the region. He is the oldest in the sport at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.  After winning four bronze medals at various SEA Games in his career, at the age of 39, he is determined to win another medal at this tournament.

Hoang Thi Bao Tram was once the national team's youngest chess player when she took part in SEA Games 22nd. However, she defeated many strong opponents to secure a gold medal. The 35-year-old is still Vietnam’s hope at the Games.

There are six shooters among the Vietnamese delegation who had also competed at the SEA Games hosted by Vietnam in 2003 and all of them won gold medals. They are Tran Quoc Cuong, Pham Thi Ha, Dang Hong Ha, Nguyen Thi Le Quyen, Hoang Thi Tuat and Le Nghia.

At the age of 48, Cuong is one of the most veteran of not only the shooting team but also  the Vietnamese sports delegation at the Games. Together with other shooters like Olympic gold medalist Hoang Xuan Vinh, Nguyen Manh Tuong and Pham Cao Son, Cuong and his teammates set a record of winning 25 gold medals at the 22nd SEA Games, contributing to the achievement of the Vietnam delegation at that time. He grabbed two gold medals in the team's air pistol and 50m freestyle pistol. According to coach Nguyen Thi Nhung, this could be Cuong's last SEA Games before turning to coach.

The 31st SEA Games will be held from May 12-23 in 12 cities and provinces. Football will be the first sport organised from May 6.

The regional biennial event will see the participation of almost 10,000 athletes, coaches and officials of 40 sports./.