Getting ready for a triathlon is no small feat, as Harry Hodge learns. Photos Francis Xavier
When you meet Phuong Tieu Nguyen in person, you pretty much assume no sport is beyond her.
A personal trainer in Ho Chi Minh City, the lean and toned Phuong admits that even for her, the upcoming Ironman Triathlon in Danang remains a daunting undertaking. Especially when you’re learning to swim.
“In reality, I do not like triathlons because I’ve been afraid of swimming since I was a kid,” she told Word as she prepares for the second running of the event on May 8. “Starting learning to swim in January, the result was pretty bad because I could not do freestyle swimming. With two months left to the race, I switched to breaststroke.”
Participants must complete a 1.9km ocean swim, a two-loop 90km bike course that takes them along Danang’s coastline and a final 21km out-and-back run course which is flat and passes by many of Danang’s beach resorts before finishing at the foot of the Marble Mountains. Last year, she took part in a mixed relay for the Ironman in the running leg, with her team finishing third overall.
“I like to tackle challenges where most people would not,” she said. “Running is my strength but I have started cycling. My times are quite good despite the fact that I’m only a beginner in this field.”
Her preparation is impressive, running 10km each morning at 4am, biking 60km one day a week and swimming 6km throughout the week. It helps she is at the gym three hours a day for six days a week as a master trainer for California Fitness. On a normal day she is up at 2.30am to start training and in bed by 7.30pm.
“I am giving myself a target that I’ll participate in all international races in Vietnam,” she said, eyeing the Sapa Ultra Marathon in October. She is also lining up the Standard Chartered Marathon in Singapore for December and racing in Thailand next year.
She is also proving there is indeed life after 40, as one of the top-ranked female runners under 50 in the country at various distances, and is looking to add to her accolades. When asked why she takes on so many races, her response was straightforward.
“I really enjoy running, and I love the feeling of winning,” she said. “That’s why I love racing.”
Vietnamese Shooter Takes Bronze in Thailand
Vietnamese shooter Ha Minh Thanh won a bronze medal at the ISSF Rifle and Pistol World Cup in Bangkok, Thailand last month, according to Vietnam News.
Thanh, 30, who had never won a World Cup medal before, finished third in the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol event.
Earlier, another Vietnamese player Hoang Xuan Vinh won the men’s 10m air pistol bronze medal.
Vietnam now have two shooters — Vinh and Tran Quoc Cuong — who will compete in the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil this summer, following their success at the 51st ISSF World Championships in Spain.
Vietnam Routed in Olympic Qualifiers in Osaka
Vietnam ended their journey in the AFC Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016 qualifiers in Japan with a forgettable winless run last month, when they lost their last match against South Korea.
The Vietnamese women had a fun time celebrating International Women’s Day the day before the game, but the elevated spirits still failed to help them find a victory. South Korea scored twice in each half of the match, which was hit by a heavy downpour in Osaka, to secure their first-ever victory at the tournament, following two draws and two losses in the previous games.
Vietnam left the event with zero points and 18 goals against after five straight defeats.
Young Ballers Show Their Stuff
Jr. NBA, the NBA’s global youth development programme that promotes basketball participation and an active lifestyle among children, has returned to Vietnam for the third consecutive year beginning last month, according to Vietnam News.
The expanded programme will reach more than 200 schools in Vietnam with clinics in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. The programme will run through to June 2016 and engage more than 4,500 boys and girls. A series of school clinics will be conducted leading up to the selection camp on Apr. 9, where the top 40 boys and top 24 girls aged between 10 and 14 will be chosen to participate in the Jr. NBA National Training Camp in Ho Chi Minh City from Jun. 17 to Jun. 19.
The National Training Camp will once again be attended by an NBA legend or current player and feature an NBA Cares community outreach event. The programme will culminate with the selection of 10 boys and five girls, who will be named as 2016 Jr. NBA Vietnam All-Stars and then play overseas in Southeast Asia later in the year.
Vietnam Notches Surprise Tennis Win over Indonesia
Nguyen Hoang Thien defeated Aditya Hari Sasongko on Sunday to secure Vietnam’s 3-2 victory over Indonesia at a 2016 Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group II match in Surakarta last month.
Thien’s win was a bit of an upset as most people had predicted a loss for Vietnam, especially after Ly Hoang Nam quit another singles match earlier on the same day due to muscle cramp.
As a result of the victory, the Vietnam Tennis Federation has awarded the team US$10,000. In the next round, Thailand will host Vietnam and Chinese Taipei will play the Philippines from Jul. 15 to Jul. 17.