Fri, 19th Apr 2024 00:38 (GMT +7)

Vinh sets sights on Paris Olympics

Thursday, 21/09/2023 | 08:30:53 [GMT +7] A  A

Trịnh Thu Vinh expects her highest result in Paris where she will be one among thousands of top competitors from all corners of the globe.

NATIONAL PRIDE: Trịnh Thu Vinh is the second female shooter of Việt Nam to win an official berth in the Olympics. She is the second Vietnamese athlete to qualify for the Paris Games next summer. — Photo courtesy of vtc.vn

In her partnership with the pistol for six years, Trịnh Thu Vinh dreamed of having a chance to compete with the world's elite athletes.

Her tireless efforts have brought her a berth at the world's most prestigious competition, the Paris Olympic Games in 2024. Vinh is the second athlete of Việt Nam taking this honour, after cyclist Nguyễn Thị Thật.

The 22-year-old still has much work to do but expects her highest result in Paris where she will be one among thousands of top competitors from all corners of the globe.

Born and raised in Thạch Thành District of Thanh Hóa Province, Vinh first took sport as an athlete in track and field at the People's Police team. She only became a markswoman by chance.

"After several years with the track and field events, my results did not improve. The coaches asked me to practise with the shooting team. Gradually, I fell in love with guns and bullets," said Vinh.

"I practised and won my first medals, which pushed me to the national team in early 2019."

It was the former national team head coach Nguyễn Thị Nhung and South Korean expert Park Chung-gun who recognised Vinh's potential and added her to the team where she joined with national legends Trần Quốc Cường and Hoàng Xuân Vinh (now national coaches).

Shortly after, she made a remarkable performance, earning 570 of 580 points in the 10m air pistol event. This got her a slot in the finals of all international competitions.

Park, who jointly produced Việt Nam's first Olympic champion Xuân Vinh, again put her on the list of athletes to receive strong support for the Paris Olympics. He took charge of the young woman, correcting her posture when shooting, improving her technique and helping her mentality.

“The Olympics is just a dream for me. But after training and earning positive results and looking at legends like Vinh and Cường as well as other senior teammates, I think I can achieve. I need to do my best and go beyond my limits. If I can beat myself, I can beat anyone," said Vinh.

Miracle

Vinh took an individual bronze and a team silver from the 31st SEA Games in 2022, and secured three golds at the Asian championships. But it was at the 53rd ISSF World Shooting Championship in Azerbaijan in August where she scored her greatest achievement

Trịnh Thu Vinh (third, left) competes in the world championship in August in Baku, Azerbaijan. She finishes fifth and qualifies for the Paris Olympics Games 2024. Photo VSF

Vinh was up against 130 competitors in the qualification round. She shot 579 points and advanced to the top-eight final, where she shot 175.6 points for fifth place.

The world championship was a qualifier for the Olympics. The top-four athletes in the women's air pistol event qualified for the Paris event.

In the top three, Greek Anna Korakaki had already earned her berth while Xue Li could not qualify because she was the third competitor from China and only two athletes from one National Olympic Committee would go.

As a result, Vinh and sixth-placed Kim Bomi of South Korea were pushed up to take the available places.

Vinh said she was really nervous before the final, which led to two disappointing eight-point shots. It was tense, and she couldn't focus.

Trịnh Thu Vinh seen at the Baku Olympic Shooting Range where she faces powerful rivals in the women's 10m air pistol event. Photo VSF

"I had to stay still, take deep breaths and think nothing. I always keep a notebook by my side, in which I write down my way to solve my nervousness and calm down. It worked," said Vinh.

"I was under pressure and excited because I did not think I could make it. It is great that I won an Olympic berth. However, I am disappointed I couldn't beat my own record. After six years, I am happy and proud that I have contributed my small part to Việt Nam sport."

Coach Nhung said Vinh made remarkable progress since her first day with the national team. She lifted her results from really low to an astonishing level. She was top five in the world championships and will now be a Paris Olympian.

Meanwhile, coach Cường said he was not surprised as he was aware of Vinh's ability and predicted she would make Olympics sooner or later.

It is six years since the Rio Olympics 2016 where Việt Nam secured an official berth in the shooting. No Vietnamese qualified for the Tokyo Olympics 2020, though defending champion Xuân Vinh received a wildcard and competed unsuccessfully.

Vinh is the fourth shooter and second woman of Việt Nam to earn an Olympic spot. The first woman was Lê Thị Hoàng Ngọc, competing in the London Olympics 2012.

Asian Games on radar

Vinh will compete at the 19th Asian Games, or ASIAD, in China later this month. After her Olympic qualification, she now shoulders medal hope for Việt Nam at the quadrennial meeting.

"I will set my private affair aside. It is time to train hard for the ASIAD, which is a great challenge for me," Vinh said.

"Shooting is a sport of proficiency, accuracy, precision and speed. In addition to daily training, I also practise meditation to reduce stress, increase attention and keep my mind in peace. That helps improve my shooting. I hope that I will reach my peak at the China Games. The Olympics will be a strong push for me."

Trịnh Thu Vinh (left) and teammate Phạm Quang Huy compete and win a silver in the Asian Rifle/Pistol Cup's 10m air pistol mixed double event in March in Indonesia. Photo of VSF

Việt Nam has never won a shooting gold at ASIAD, with the best result of two bronzes in the previous edition in Indonesia.

"In addition to technique and physical fitness, we also try to improve athletes' tactical mind and courage. We hope that they can show their abilities, and excellent individuals, including Vinh, can achieve our goals," said coach Xuân Vinh.

Source: VNS