Defending Champion Thảo chases glory in long jump event at ASIAD 19

During ASIAD 18 in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2018, Thảo made history by becoming the first Vietnamese track and field athlete to secure an ASIAD gold medal.


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Bùi Thị Thu Thảo competes at the SEA Games 32 in Cambodia. She is chasing glory in the long jump event at ASIAD 19. Photo

Asian Games

HÀ NỘI — Long jump queen Bùi Thị Thu Thảo hopes to defend the women’s long jump gold medal she won five years ago in Indonesia at the ongoing 19th Asian Games (ASIAD) in China.

But pressure is mounting on the mother of one, as she is no longer in the peak condition.

During ASIAD 18 in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2018, Thảo made history by becoming the first Vietnamese track and field athlete to secure an ASIAD gold medal. Her impressive first attempt jump of 6.55m propelled her to the top of the podium.

Thảo outperformed Neena Varakil of India, who took silver, by a mere 4cm, while Xu Xiaoling of China clinched bronze with a distance of 6.50m.

Although 6.55m was not Thảo’s personal best, it was enough to etch her name and Vietnamese athletics into the ASIAD event. Prior to that, she had won the gold medal at the 28th SEA Games in Singapore in 2015 with a jump of 6.65m.

Following her remarkable success at ASIAD 18, Thảo took a break from competition to focus on her marriage and child.
She was absent from the 30th SEA Games in the Philippines in 2019 due to her pregnancy. Thảo welcomed her daughter in 2020 and resumed training in 2021 to prepare for SEA Games 31 in Việt Nam, where she secured a silver medal with a jump of 6.38m.

Thảo had the opportunity to participate in SEA Games 32 held in Cambodia in May but only managed a jump of 6.13m and lost to Maria Natalia Londa of Indonesia, whom she had defeated multiple times in previous tournaments. Londa easily claimed the gold medal at SEA Games 32 with a jump of 6.28m.

Overcoming Challenges

“I have been training diligently, and I will give my best to achieve the optimal result at ASIAD 19,” Thảo expressed.

Thảo acknowledged that defending her gold medal will be challenging, but she hoped that her motivation, coupled with a competitive atmosphere, would empower her to perform strongly and secure a place on the podium in her specialty event.

A total of 12 Vietnamese track and field athletes will commence their competition on September 29 at ASIAD 19. They will be competing in various events, including the men’s and women’s 3,000m hurdles, men’s and women’s 800m, men’s and women’s 1,500m, women’s long jump, women’s triple jump, and women’s 4x400m relay.

There are high hopes for medals in the long jump event, with Thảo defending her ASIAD champion title. The women’s 4x400m relay team, who are the current reigning Asian champions, is also expected to perform well. Additionally, there are hopes for success in the women’s 3,000m hurdles event, as Nguyễn Thị Oanh won a bronze medal at the ASIAD 18.

The ASIAD 19 has brought together approximately 13,000 athletes from 45 countries and territories, competing in 40 different sports. The Vietnamese sports delegation consists of 337 athletes participating in 31 events, with the goal of securing between two and five gold medals.

Theo Vietnamnews