Nguyen Thi Nhu Hoa (second, left) and her coaches pose for photo after winning her top place in China. (Photo: zing.vn)

Hanoi (VNA) -
Vietnam pocketed two Olympic slots in fencing during Asia-Pacific zonal qualification matches in China on April 11.

Nguyen Thi Nhu Hoa defeated Ulyana Balaganskaya of Kazakhstan 15-5 in the women’s epee final.

Earlier, Hoa beat Lim Cheryl of Singapore 14-12 and Chinese Taipei’s Chang Chialing 8-7.

According to Phung Le Quang, Head of the Vietnam Sports Administration’s Fencing Department, Hoa’s victory was a surprise. The 32-year-old qualified as the top athlete in the category.

Her teammate Vu Thanh An grabbed his own ticket in the men’s sabre event.

The Southeast Asian Games champion got a first round bye and had no difficulty to defeat rivals from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to enter the final.

The top three players in the men’s tournaments will automatically qualify.

Hoa and An will be Vietnam’s second and third fencers to compete in the Olympics in history.

Qualification continues on April 12 with leading athletes, Nguyen Tien Nhat and Nguyen Le Dung participating.

Four years ago, Nhat became the first Vietnamese fencer to compete at the Olympic Games in London.

Vietnam have secured 11 Olympic slots. The country set a target of sending at least 18 athletes to the Rio de Janeiro Games this summer.-VNA