Vietnamese swimming team exceeds gold medal target at SEA Games 31 hinh anh 1Ben Tre-born swimmer Pham Thanh Bao wins a gold medal in the men's 50m breaststroke event (Photo: VNA) 
Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnam’s national swimming team surpassed the gold medal target set for the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31) after winning two more gold medals on May 18.

Ben Tre-born swimmer Pham Thanh Bao opened an impressive competition day of Vietnamese athletes with his an ecstatic performance in the men's 50m breaststroke event. The 21-year-old swimmer won a gold medal with a time of 28.28 seconds, beating strong rivals from Indonesia and Singapore. It was also his second gold at this year’s Games.

Meanwhile, Tran Hung Nguyen pocketed a gold medal after his surprising performance in the men’s 200m medley event with a time of 2 minutes and 1.22 seconds. The 19-year-old swimmer competed with their strong rivals Kaewsriyoung Dulyawat of Thailand and Maximillian Wei Ang of Singapore in this event.

The silver and bronze medalists in the day were Vo Thi My Tien and Hoang Quy Phuoc, respectively, who competed in the women’s 1,500m freestyle and the men’s 200m freestyle events.

Closing the 5th day of competition, the Vietnamese swimming team pocketed a total of nine gold medals, 10 silvers and two bronzes, officially exceeding the set target of 8 gold medals.

Dinh Viet Hung, Vice Chairman and General Secretary of the Vietnam Aquatic Sports Association (VASA) attributed the results to great efforts of the swimmers in training and competition.

The swimmers who are expected to win gold medals have completed their task, he said.

However, he noted that the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years has had hindered swimmers from improving their performance.

As scheduled, swimming events will run to May 19. The team is pinning hope on Nguyen Huy Hoang in the men’s 800m freestyle event, which is firstly included in SEA Games 31.

Thirty two Vietnamese swimmers have been competing at SEA Games 31.

Nine members of the team, including gold medal hopeful Nguyen Huy Hoang, were trained in Hungary before the regional sports event.

Swimming events are running from May 14 to 19 at the My Dinh Water Sports Stadium in Hanoi.

The entire team is determining to defend Vietnam's second place in the swimming tally.

In the past three editions of the Games in 2015, 2017 and 2019, Vietnam was ranked second in swimming, with most of the gold medals brought by Anh Vien.

SEA Games 31, themed “For a Stronger South East Asia”, is being held in Hanoi and 11 nearby localities namely Bac Ninh, Bac Giang, Nam Dinh, Ha Nam, Hoa Binh, Hai Phong, Phu Tho, Hai Duong, Quang Ninh, Ninh Binh, and Vinh Phuc.

It features 40 sports with 523 events. The biennial event was initially slated for late 2021 but delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vietnam is aiming for 140 gold, 77 silver and 71 bronze medals at the regional sporting event.

Vietnam had claimed 125 gold, 76 silver and 74 bronze medals as of May 18 evening, the sixth official competition day of the ongoing SEA Games 31, retaining the top position in the medal table./.