The Vietnamese sports delegation to the 17th Asian Games (Asiad) will do their utmost to bring home many prizes, said a senior sports official.

According to the Nhan Dan (People) online newspaper, Head of the General Department of Sports and Physical Training Vuong Bich Thang made the remarks while answering reporters’ questions on the contingent’s plans for the upcoming Games in Incheon, Republic of Korea (RoK) from September 29 to October 4.

* How has Vietnam’s sports sector been preparing for the largest continental sporting event of the year, the 17th Asiad?

The 17th Asiad is considered the most important of the four major international sporting events for Vietnam in 2014, which also include the second Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, Asian Para Games in Incheon and Asian Beach Games in Phuket, Thailand. Therefore, the sports sector leaders along with professional officials have conducted athlete selection and training programmes in a methodical and selective fashion for each sport over the past months.

The majority of our Asiad contestants are among the 64 athletes scheduled for long-term investment by the sector and are young but competent in their expertise. Most of them are currently meeting at three national training centres in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang for last minute Asiad preparations. Some others are training abroad at prestigious and famous venues in the region and around the world such as the United States (swimming and athletics), RoK (taekwondo) and Japan (gymnastics).

These overseas training courses are to enable athletes’ access to world-class training infrastructure and methods, aiming to improve the Vietnamese delegation’s performance at the upcoming 17th Asiad. Escort officials are also tasked with gaining experience and knowledge in terms of training methods and application of modern technology to athlete training from countries of world-leading sports, and apply them to athlete training in Vietnam.

*Could you give specific information on the Vietnam sports delegation and their Asiad sports?

Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Tuan Anh has recently decided to establish the Vietnam sports contingent to 17th Asiad. Accordingly, the 298-member delegation, led by Deputy Director of General Department of Sports and Physical Training Lam Quang Thanh, will leave for Incheon for the Asiad mission and comprises of 199 athletes in 21 sports and 99 trainers, experts, doctors and officials.

Eighteen of the 21 events will have their expenditure sourced from the State budget, including athletics, swimming, gymnastics, shooting, karate, taekwondo, sepak takraw, boxing, wrestling, fencing, judo, weightlifting, archery, rowing, cycling, badminton, football and Wushu. The remaining three sports – soft tennis, golf and bowling – will be funded from non-State sources.

*What are the assigned goals for the Vietnam Asiad delegation?

It is not easy at all to claim gold medals in a competition which draws the participation of nations of world-class sports development such as China, RoK, Japan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. However, the Vietnamese contingent has targeted top victories in athletics, swimming, gymnastics, shooting, taekwondo, karate, Wushu, sepak takraw and weightlifting, as our athletes’ performances have reached the Asian-level gold medal in these nine sports.

Vietnamese athletes will also strive to win medals in the fields of archery, wrestling, judo, boxing, badminton, fencing and cycling.