Coach Nguyen Huu Thang has been asked to bring Vietnam to the finals of the Southeast Asian Games’ football event (Photo: kenhthethao.vn)

Hanoi (VNA) - Following a successful year in sports in 2016, Vietnam is gearing up for even better results next year, according to the National Sports Administration.

The top priority will be the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Malaysia where 38 sports will be represented.

“We target one of top three positions at the Games. We will focus on the sports listed on the Olympic Games roster and those in the Asian Games schedule,” said Tran Duc Phan, deputy head of the Administration.

“Athletes will be strongly supported and they will be in intensive training since the beginning of 2017. The key athletes who have potential to win medals will follow specific programmes (to make sure of their chances),” Phan said.

But the number of medals could fall short because Malaysia is decreasing or not holding at all some of Vietnam’s strong sports such as wrestling, rowing and weightlifting.

Football is always a key event in the Games.

The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) is set to send both men’s and women’s teams to the final matches at the Malaysian competition. While the women plan to take their top position back, the men, represented by the U22 squad, will seek their first-ever title in the regional biennial sports festival.

“(Men’s) football should be looking forward to its highest goal. It is really a challenge as Thailand are always the No 1 in the region, but we should keep hoping and do our best,” said Phan.

When signing a contract with head coach Nguyen Duc Thang in March, the VFF also tasked him with winning a gold medal at the 29th Games. Thang has eight months to prepare for this task.-VNA