A resilient girl of Vietnamese athletics

Monday, 2020-01-27 08:28:51
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Vietnamese track and field star Nguyen Thi Oanh.
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NDO – Vietnamese athletics delivered an amazing finish to the recent 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 30) winning a total of 16 gold medals, four clear of regional powerhouse Thailand. With such success, it would be a mistake to overlook the hat-trick of titles from 25-year-old Nguyen Thi Oanh.

The blood, sweat and tears shed by the 1.5m-tall girl in those glorious moments are an outstanding example of wholehearted commitment and a resilient fighting will.

Ahead of her departure for the SEA Games, the smallest girl of Vietnam’s athletics team was assigned to win at least three gold medals. The challenge mounted as Oanh had to compete in two consecutive events on December 10, following another two days earlier. However, rising above difficulties, she took the top honour in all those categories in a convincing fashion. The little girl of Vietnamese athletics left an unforgettable image in the minds of viewers by blasting her way to a double of gold medals on the last day of competition.

In the morning, Oanh almost exhausted herself in the 5,000m race clocking a time of 16:45.98. Then, in the afternoon, the Bac Giang-born athlete went on to take the stage in the 3,000m steepleschase discipline. Oanh started the competition in a state of dizziness and was trembling due to dehydration. “I had to constantly pat my cheek with my hands to keep myself conscious,” she narrated.

As there were doubts about her ability to record a good display, Oanh astonished everyone by being the first to complete the race, thanks to a brilliant fighting spirit. Setting aside all signs of body exhaustion, she surpassed all the other competitors to rush to the finishing line in the cheers of the coaching staff and fans, claiming the gold medal and breaking the SEA Games record (one lap faster than the slowest finisher).

Oanh (C) celebrates her 2019 SEA Games gold medal with joy.

In the history of Vietnamese athletics, there has never been an athlete who finished first in the 5,000m race in the morning and then immediately went on to win the 3,000m steeplechase in the afternoon. Such a feat can only be attained by the “special ones”.

As soon as she completed the race, Oanh collapsed in exhaustion, with her legs kicking reflexively as muscle groups lost control. But soon afterwards, she managed to stand up to help another Vietnamese athlete stand up along with her. It was one of the most beautiful images of the Vietnam sports delegation at SEA Games 30 - an image of victory, resilience and teamwork.

Among those in attendance at the track and field stadium in New Clark City, Duong Duc Thuy, the head of the Vietnam athletics team, had to exclaim: “Oanh did a great thing that could have never been imagined by both experts and competitors!”

According to Thuy, the competition schedule arranged by the organising committee caused numerous hardships for Oanh. The coaching committee had previously determined that it would be difficult for her to achieve good results, and that she may even be forced to give up. But in the end, such an annoying schedule failed to discourage the resilient spirit and the vigorous running steps of the little Vietnamese girl.

After smashing three gold medals to complete the assigned target, Oanh wrapped the national flag around her body and then burst into tears like a child. Despite once being a “low-birthweight” athlete suffering from glomerulonephritis, that little girl rose above all difficulties to perform a miracle and glorify Vietnamese sports at the region’s largest sporting event.