All Olympic hopes now on Taekwondo

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No medals yet for Vietnam as young athletes face inexperience issues

 
Vietnam's Olympic medal hopes are now pinned on taekwondo, with Le Huynh Chau (L) competing in the men's under-58kg category

After the failure of weightlifter Tran Le Quoc Toan and badminton ace Nguyen Tien Minh, Vietnam's Olympic medal hopes are now pinned on taekwondo.

The silver medal by female taekwondo martial artist Tran Hieu Ngan in the women's 57kg event at the 2000 Sydney Olympics raised the hopes of more athletes winning more medals at the global event.

The 2012 Olympics looked good as 18 Vietnamese athletes all won official berths this time, rather than wildcards like previous events. But even bringing home a bronze has proved illusive in London.

The Vietnamese people have now pinned their hopes on taekwondo, with Le Huynh Chau competing in the men's under-58kg category on August 8 and Chu Hoang Dieu Linh fighting in the women's under-67kg event on August 10.

"Huynh Chau and Dieu Linh are training hard for a tough fight," said Truong Ngoc De, chief of the Vietnamese taekwondo delegation at the London Olympics.

"The facilities at the French port city of Calais in the north of France are very good, and the two Vietnamese martial artists have been training with all their efforts."

Training in the north of France where the weather conditions are similar to that in London was an advantage for the Vietnamese athletes who can now avoid the problem of weather and time zone changes, De said.

However, Huynh Chau is ranked 36th and Dieu Linh 41st in the world and they are not among the eight seeded athletes in their categories at the London Olympics.

That means they will face top-tier competitors right from the first round. Van Ngoc Tu was already swept aside in the first round of the judo women's 48kg category by world No.3 Brazilian Sarah Menezes on July 28.

Tran Hieu Ngan had had a lot of international experience before she won the silver at the Sydney Olympics, but Huynh Chau and Dieu Linh are both fairly inexperienced.

Dieu Linh is only 17 years old, and Huynh Chau is 56kg, but he has to compete in the 58kg category.

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