This figure is 20 less than that of the 26th SEA Games in Indonesia since the numbers of sports and competition categories at the upcoming games will reduce.

At the last SEA Games, there were 44 sports with 545 sets of medals. The 2013 games will have only 33 sports with 460 sets of medals.

The number of Vietnamese athletes to the 2013 games will also reduce by 100 people, from 850 in the last games to 750 for this games.

Thanh says that if Vietnam wins at least 70 goal medals, the country will be in the top three. The two leading positions will be the race between the host country - Myanmar and the region's most powerful team - Thailand.

At this SEA Games, Vietnam will face some difficulties because the host country rejected some sports that are Vietnam’s fortes, such as gymnastics and fencing and narrowing the range of competition of other sports like wrestling.

The biggest hopes of Vietnam at the games are track-and-field and swimming. Thanh says that Vietnam is able to win over 12 gold medals from athletics. Vietnam currently also has many swimming talents, including Nguyen Thi Anh Vien, Hoang Quy Phuoc and Tran Duy Khoi.

Other promising sports consist of taekwondo, judo, wrestling, karate, wushu, Pencak Silat, Muay, Kempo, Vovinam and boxing. According to Thank, these are the “gold mine” of Vietnam and the number of gold medals from these sports will determine the final ranking of Vietnam.

Thanh has just returned from Myanmar to inspect the facilities for the SEA Games. He says that the host country has prepared pretty good. The Vietnam delegation will live in seven villas, which are only 5 km from the competition sites by bus.

According to the schedule announced by the host, 27th SEA Games will be officially opened on December 11 in Nay Pyi Taw, but the male football will start from December 1. The draw for all sports will be held on November 29.

By Tung Nguyen - VietNamNet Bridge - September 28, 2013