The Vietnamese football team (Photo: VNA)
Achievements come one after another
The year 2018 began with a historic achievement, with the U23 national men’s football team finishing second at the 2018 Asian Football Confederation Championship in China in January. This was Vietnam’s highest ever finish at a continental-level football tournament.
Next, the Olympic team qualified for the semi-finals of the 2018 Asian Games (ASIAD 18), losing out to eventual winners the Republic of Korea.
The crown came in December, as Vietnam finished the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup at the first place for the first time in 10 years.
The men’s football teams won praise from around the world, largely thanks to the grit they showed against heavyweights like Australia, Qatar and Japan.
Vietnam also won four gold, 16 silver and 18 bronze medals at the ASIAD 18 in August, finishing 17th in the medal tally.
The four golds were in pencak silat (men’s 70-75 kg and 90-95 kg), women’s long jump and women’s lightweight quadruple sculls categories.
At the Asian Para Games two months later, Vietnamese athletes with disabilities won eight gold, eight silver and 24 bronze medals across seven sports. Notably, all the four weightlifters won medals, including two golds, one silver and one bronze.
In the year, Vietnam also held the 8th National Sports Festival, with the participation of more than 7,000 athletes across the nation. A total of 48 national records were set in athletics, archery, shooting, swimming, diving and weightlifting.
Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien said the event shows the quality of sport development in each locality, sector and the whole nation.
Reaching international level
In 2019, the sports sector will work to improve results in key sports towards high achievements at the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 30) and the 10th ASEAN Para Games in the Philippines, the first World Beach Games in the US, the qualifying rounds for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and other events.
In men’s football, national teams of different age groups have ambitious goals of qualifying for continental and international events, with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics a particular focus.
Regarding international cooperation, the sector will focus on the implementation of agreements signed and enhance ties with other ASEAN nations and sporting powerhouses like China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the US./.