The Vietnam Athletics Federation has set a goal for the country's leading athletes, Vu Thi Huong and Tr
ng Thanh Hang to win gold medals at the Asian Athletics Championships in Japan in July.
Of the US$160,000 that VAF invests in the country's athletic activities in 2011, almost $45,000 was spent on Huong and her coach Đình Minh during their training trip to Germany in mid-April.
During the trip, Vietnam's sprint queen practiced hard every day under the supervision of the head coach of Germany's athletic team, Henning Von Papen.
With advice from the German tactician, coach Đình Minh has set up a European tour of competitions for Huong in June. She is expected to participate in contests in Germany, Sweden, France and the Netherlands.
"Practice alone is not enough. Participating in high-level competitions will help Huong overcome her weaknesses in physical fitness as well as technical and psychological matters," Minh said.
Asked why Vietnam cancelled Huong's participation at the Asian Athletic Grand Prix in China in late May, Minh said, "We agreed with German expert Uwe Freimuth's opinion and decided not to let Huong compete in that Grand Prix contest because she needed to focus on improving her physical fitness at that time."
Nguyá»…n Mạnh Hung, VAF's general secretary, said, "We can't continue to make mistakes like we did last year. She didn't do very well in a special test in March 2010 in the Liang Biang mountains in Đà Lạt, but we still let her participate in the 2010 Grand Prix and she finished fourth.
"Other Asian leading athletes who won gold at the Asian Games didn't participate in that event. Now we keep in mind the idea that we must have a strong foundation before we can build a strong house. We want to build a strong foundation for Huong."
Hung and Minh both expect Huong to take gold at the 19th Asian Athletic Championships in Kobe, where she will compete against big names from Japan and Uzbekistan.
"The International Association of Athletics Federation has recently agreed on the preparations for the 2012 London Olympics. Accordingly, Huong can only qualify for the London event if she can cover 100m in 11.38 seconds at the most. It is really a struggle for her because she won the bronze medal at the 16th Asian Games in China in 2010 in 11.43 seconds."
Trương Thanh Hang, runner up in the women's 800m event at the 16th Asian Games, came to Lijiang, China on May 2 to train. She will also practice to improve her fitness and won't take part in the Grand Prix contest.
After that, she will go to Germany to practice with Huong and participate in some contests in Europe in an effort to win gold at the Asian competition in Kobe.
Hang can qualify for the London Olympics next year if she can run 800m in 2 minutes 1.30 seconds. This is within her ability. At the 16th Asian Games last year, she ran the distance in two minutes 00.91 seconds.