Vietnamese gymnast qualifies for Tokyo Olympics hinh anh 1Gymnast Dinh Phuong Thanh, seen competing at the 2019 SEA Games, has secured the sixth Tokyo Olympics slot for Vietnam. (Photo
Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - Dinh Phuong Thanh has secured Vietnam's sixth slot at the coming Tokyo Olympics.

The gymnast was informed about his qualification last week.

“I am really happy to receive an Olympic berth. It has been my dream for a long time,” said Thanh.

“I have worked hard months with hope to have a chance at the Olympics, especially after I missed the Rio event in 2016. I was really sad. After this year's Asian championship was cancelled, I was more disappointed because I thought my chance was gone again.

“But the good news came to me this night. I couldn't even understand what was going on. I am very lucky, thank you for everything,” said Thanh. “My effort is not wasted.”

National coach Truong Minh Sang explained that the Asian championship, which was an Olympic qualification tournament scheduled for May, was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The organisers decided that two slots from this tournament will be based on athletes’ results from the world championship in October 2019.

Thanh claimed 77.465 points and placed No. 75 in the world tournament’s men’s all-round event.

“In the ranking for Asians only, many others already had slots, so they were ignored. Thanh was one of two best athletes after them, and he was awarded his slot,” said Sang.

He will be joined in Tokyo this summer by fellow gymnast Le Thanh Tung, who qualified via the world championship two years ago. It is the first Olympics for both of them.

At the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016, Vietnam sent Pham Phuoc Hung and Phan Thi Ha Thanh, who have both since retired.

Currently, Vietnam has six slots for Tokyo this summer. Apart from the two gymnasts, swimmer Nguyen Huy Hoang, boxer Nguyen Van Duong and archers Nguyen Hoang Phi Vu and Do Thi Anh Nguyet have all qualified. National sports officials hope to have at least 20 qualified athletes.

The Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 with 33 sports. Athletes will vie for 339 sets of medals.

Five years ago, Vietnam sent a squad of 23 athletes to compete in 10 sports in Brazil. The team came home with the country's first gold medal and one silver, making it Vietnam's most successful Olympics in history./.