Vietnamese sports likely to 'take off' in Year of Tiger hinh anh 1Photo: SEA Games 31 and ASIAD 19 will be the focus of Vietnamese sports this year (Photo: VietnamPlus)
Hanoi (VNA) – The Vietnamese sports sector expects a good year in 2022 – the Year of the Tiger - with the highlight hosting the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31).

Last year, due to poor preparation in response to COVID-19, Vietnamese sports saw a limitation in performance.

At the Tokyo Olympics 2020, Vietnam did not meet their medal targets, while the national football team failed to defend the championship at the Suzuki AFF Cup 2020. Many young teams faced a lack of opportunity to take training courses and competition, leading to a decrease in professional quality.

However, this year, the sector expects a more successful year with better performance at important tournaments like the SEA Games 31, Olympic, Winter Paralympics, ASIAD 19 and Asian Para Games.

In 2021, Vietnamese sports won 38 gold, 15 silver and 14 bronze medals from Asian and international tournaments.

This year, the Year of the Tiger, Vietnamese athletes will participate in the Winter Olympics and Paralympics, ASIAD 19, the Asian Para Games, the third Asian Youth Games in China, the 31st SEA Games, the seventh Children of Asia International Sports Games in Russia, Francophone Games in Congo and other regional, continental and regional sports tournaments.

Vietnamese athletes are aiming for three to five gold medals at ASIAD 19 and the successful organisation of the 31st SEA Games, making strong impressions in terms of achievements, profession and sports event organisation. These are the two most important tasks for Vietnamese sports in the new year.

The hosts also want to win almost 80 silver and 70 bronze medals from 526 events and 40 sports. The SEA Games will be held in the capital and 11 surrounding cities and provinces.

The country aims to enter the top three of the medal tally. This target is based on the country’s capacity and the achievements of the two previous hosts of the Games; Malaysia won 145 golds in 2017 while the Philippines secured 149 in 2019. Both finished in first place on the medal tally.

This will be Vietnam’s second time hosting the regional sporting festival. The country will set out to win as many golds in Olympic sports as possible to promote national sports to a higher level.

Athletics will be the most important event and the runners, jumpers and throwers will try to better the 16 gold medals that they grabbed three years ago in the Manila Games. This will also help them to remain the strongest team in ASEAN.

Swimming is another strong point for Vietnam, and martial arts, such as wrestling and boxing, have been tasked with winning five to seven golds for the hosts.

Other hopeful sports are shooting, archery, weightlifting and bodybuilding, with aims of at least five titles.

Football is the most important sport and the Vietnamese teams are tasked with defending their crowns.

In the last three Games, Vietnam took 98 golds in 2019, 58 in 2017 and 73 in 2015, and finished in the top three of each Games.

During the 2003 Games, which Vietnam hosted for the first time, Vietnamese athletes won 158 golds out of a total of 444 available, to top the medal table.

The 31st SEA Games will be held between May 12-23. Thirty-one days prior to the opening ceremony, organisers will hold a torch relay starting in the Temple of Hung Kings in Phu Tho province before visiting 10 host cities and provinces, ending in Hanoi.

SEA Games 31 is themed “For a Stronger South East Asia”. It will feature 40 sports with more than 500 events, attracting around 10,000 participants. The biennial event was initially slated for late 2021 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic./.