A new policy will strive to build strong reserves of young weightlifters through a system of competitions to ensure continuity in the national team, a senior sports official said on April 19.

Do Dinh Khang, head of weightlifting section under the National Sports Administration said the move was prompted by the void left behind by the doping-related suspension of Olympic silver medallist Nguyen Anh Tuan (56kg) and the retirement of Nguyen Thi Thiet (63kg) last year.

Their absence left gaps in the national team that were difficult to fill, he said.

The current national team's hopes rested on just Duong Thanh Truc and Nguyen Thi Phuong, he said.

A good omen is that the weightlifting is developing well in more provinces across the country, not only big cities, he said, adding that the fourth National Youth Weightlifting Championships this year saw some new athletes emerge from outside the usual powerhouse regions.

Khang said that in the four years since the championship was opened, more provinces like Quang Ninh, Nghe An and Yen Bai have discovered and trained potential weightlifters.

"At competitions like this, which is for athletes 13-16 years old, it is not about medals, but about ensuing that young weightlifters are doing their lifting in a proper way so that they can succeed in the long-term," Khang said.
He said the national championships has thrown up some weightlifters with promising potential, like Pham Van Hao of Ha Noi and Nguyen Tran Anh Tuan of HCM City in the men's 60kg category./.