Vietnam’s failure at London Olympic
The 2012 Olympics finished and Vietnam did not win any medal. The Olympic is a playing field that is beyond Vietnam’s strength, but if Vietnam invested more seriously in the games, the result would have been different.
The most important factor for the success of any country at the Olympic Games is preparation. Other countries began preparing for the games after the end of the 2008 Olympics while Vietnam did this task in several months. In this short period of time, a lot of problems happened.
In his latest statement, former head of the Elite Sports Department, Mr. Nguyen Hong Minh criticized Vietnam’s preparation for the games. “No country prepares for the Olympics like Vietnam does,” Minh said.
Minh’s statement is not tough. Let’s review how Vietnamese athletes prepared for the event.
Gymnast Phan Thi Ha Thanh, who was praised “a miracle of Vietnam’s gymnastics and sports,” won an official card to the games. This was the first time a Vietnamese gymnast achieved this. However, Ha Thanh was not fully equipped for the games.
In gymnastics, the most important thing for raising a gymnast’s achievement is heightening the difficulty of exercises. Ha Thanh won a bronze medal at the world gymnastics champs and a card to the Olympics because she performed a more difficult exercise than her rivals.
However, athletes cannot raise the difficulty of exercises by their own. They need assistance of coaches and a necessary period of time for practice.
Ha Thanh had to practice alone after her Chinese coach returned home to take care his ailing wife. After that, a coach of the Hanoi gymnastic team was assigned to coach Ha Thanh, but the coach could only help Thanh avoid injury, not improve the difficulty of exercises.
Two shooters, Hoang Xuan Vinh and Hoang Ngoc, were trained for several days before the Olympics.
A North Korean coach was invited to teach wrestler Nguyen Thi Lua but he did not go to Vietnam, so Lua had to drill with Vietnamese coaches.
The track-and-field team did not have any overseas training courses.
It was better for badminton, taekwondo, fencing and judo teams because they had overseas training courses and foreign coaches for a short period of time before the games.
Until the end of the World Weightlifting Championships, Vietnam defined its representative at the Olympics. Earlier, the team was trained in Bulgaria but when the center of investment was not determined, the investment was ineffective.
Vietnam’s preparation for the Olympics was in trouble right before the start of the games. The gymnastics and track-and-field teams went to the UK for drilling but until they arrived at the training center, they knew that the center did not have enough equipment. Athletes had to travel nearly 100km each day for training.
Vietnam did not carefully prepare for the games because sports officials thought that it was a success to get cards to the games and they did not care for competing for medals, former head of the Elite Sports Department, Mr. Nguyen Hong Minh, analyzed.
It is said that investment was not poured in the right athletes. Instead of spending a lot of money in runners Thanh Hang and Vu Thi Huong to help them get Olympic cards (they did not), if Vietnam invest in weightlifting and shooting, it would have had medals.
Vietnam did not seriously prepare for the event. Immediately after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, many countries began preparing for the 2012 games. Some countries even invested in their “strategic cards” ten years before the game to win medals.
It is not a surprise for Vietnam’s failure at the games. However, Vietnam has not learnt lessons after each Olympics.
It’s time for Vietnam to target the regional and international arenas, not the Southeast Asian Games.
By Thanh Tung - VietNamNet Bridge - August 14, 2012
Five reasons for Vietnam’s failure at Olympics
Poor investment, lack of information and key athletes are among the reasons that caused Vietnam’s failure at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Vietnam won 18 official cards for 11 sports. This was the first time Vietnam went to the Olympics with all official tickets. This was also the highest number of Vietnamese athletes at the Olympics. The increase of athletes gave Vietnam a bigger opportunity to seek medals. However, the country did not win any medal. Why?
The first reason is poor preparation for the games and the second reason is poor investment in Olympics, which were analyzed in our previous article: Vietnam’s failure at London Olympic.
Another reason is the lack of determination of the sports sector. When the Olympic campaign was kicked off, the Vietnam Olympic Committee bravely set a target of winning 20-30 cards. Vietnam failed to achieve this goal but it was already a success when 18 athletes took official cards to the games. However, the sport sector’s investment and determination stopped there. It did not set a target for winning medals.
Lack of outstanding athletes is also a reason. The best results for Vietnam at the Olympics are the fourth position of shooter Hoang Xuan Vinh in the men’s 50m pistol event and the fourth position of weightlifter Tran Le Quoc Toan at the men’s 56kg category. These are also the best achievement in Vinh and Toan’s career.
Experts said that Vietnam lacked an athlete who could make a breakthrough.
At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, when taekwondo was added to the Olympics for the first time, Tran Hieu Ngan was not highly praised as her teammate Xuan Mai. However, Ngan performed excellently to win a silver medal, the first Olympic medal for Vietnam. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, weightlifter Hoang Anh Tuan broke out with 290kg to win a silver medal.
At the 2012 Olympic Games, some Vietnamese athletes overcame themselves but they could not make a breakthrough to take Olympic medals. Xuan Vinh and Quoc Toan are examples.
Weak prediction is a very old reason though Vietnam has integrated into the international sports arena for more than two decades.
Before the games, sports officials thought that if gymnast Ha Thanh could win a world bronze medal, she could win a medal at the Olympics, or weightlifter Quoc Toan could get a medal because he always lifted 290kg weight during his drilling time. They also believed that martial art athletes had big opportunity at the games.
However, the fact was far different from their expectation. Ha Thanh was rejected in the qualifier round. The unexpected appearance of a North Korea weightlifter at the men’s 56kg category, who broke an Olympic record upset Vietnam’s calculation. Quoc Toan could not win a medal. Taekwondo, Judo, fencing and wrestling athletes also failed.
The last and the major reason is Vietnam’s poor strategy. In its development plan to 2020, Vietnam aims to rank first in Southeast Asia in sports and gradually reach the regional and international arenas. However, Vietnam does not determine its key sports for investment.
Results of Vietnamese athletes at the 2012 Olympics :
Badminton: Nguyen Tien Minh defeated Yuhan Tan (Belgium) 2-1, was trounced by Parupalli Kashyap (India) 0-2, and rejected in the qualifier round of the men’s singer event.
Fencing: Nguyen Tien Nhat was defeated by Alimzhanov (Kazakhstan) 9-5 in the first round of the men's individual epee.
Gymnastics: Pham Phuoc Hung, Phan Thi Ha Thanh and Do Thi Ngan Than could not pass the qualifying round.
Judo: Van Ngoc Tu was defeated by Menezes (Brazil) in the first round of the women’s 48kg category.
Rowing: Pham Thi Hai and Pham Thi Thao ranked 16/17 in the women’s lightweight double sculls event.
Shooting: Hoang Xuan Vinh ranked fourth in the men’s 50m pistol event (breaking national record) and ninth in the men’s 10m air pistol event. Le Thi Hoang Ngoc ranked 32nd in the women’s 25m pistol event and 21st in the women’s 10m air pistol event.
Swimming: Nguyen Thi Anh Vien ranked 26th/37 in the women’s 200m backstroke event (breaking national record) and 28th in the women’s 400m individual medley.
Weightlifting: Tran Le Quoc Toan ranked 4th in the men’s 56kg event. Nguyen Thi Thuy ranked 8th in the women’s 53kg event.
Wrestling: Nguyen Thi Lua was trounced 0-5 by Carol Huynh (Canada) in the 1/8 round.
Taekwondo: Le Huynh Chau was defeated by Wei Chen-yang (Taiwan, China) 1-5 in the first round. Chu Hoang Dieu Linh was trounced by Helena Fromm (Germany) 1-13 in the first round.
Track-and-field: Duong Thi Viet Anh ranked 29th/34 in the woman’s high jump event, with 1.80m. Duong Thi Thanh Phuc ranked 36th/57 in the women’s 20km walking (breaking national record).
By S. Tung - VietNamNet Bridge - August 16, 2012