Judoka aims to regain SEA Games gold on home soil hinh anh 1Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Thanh Thuy (right) competes with Romania’s Andreea Chitu during their judo women’s 52kg category in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games last July.(Photo: AFP/VNA)

Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - Judoka Nguyen Thi Thanh Thuy made use of every minute to sharpen her skills and get to peak fitness in a recent training course in Mongolia.

The event was part of the final preparation for her and her teammates before taking part in the 31st Southeast Asian Games, where Thuy will look to regain her title in the women’s 52kg judo category.

“My teammates and I are preparing our best for the Games. We are improving our physique and practising our strongest throws so that we are confident to face powerful rivals in Hanoi this May,” she said.

Thuy was born in 1993 and grew up in the southern province of Tra Vinh, but she signed a contract to compete for Ninh Binh province in the north in 2013. She is one of the most successful athletes in the province to date.

“My parents registered me at a judo club, hoping that sport would help improve my health. We never thought that it would be my first step to turn professional,” Thủy said.

“I receive strong support from my family. My parents follow me to almost all of the tournaments while my older brother, a judo referee, also helps me a lot,” she said.

Over 18 years of practising judo, Thuy has been a Vietnamese representative in many international competitions and has had remarkable results. But her first gold medal in the 2015 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and competing at the Tokyo Olympic Games are her most memorable.

Despite being the ASEAN reigning champion, Thuy was not expected to get the best result at her first SEA Games after all of her senior teammates failed. But she took her coaches from surprise to shock as she went straight to the final and took gold with few difficulties.

It marked a turning point in Thuy’s career, and she has been a mainstay in international competitions ever since.

She grabbed a bronze in the Hungary Cup in 2016, placed fifth in the Asian championship in 2017 and won a title in the Asian Open tournament in 2018. A year later, she advanced to the last 16 of the World Championship./.