|Fighter Trương Thị Kim Tuyền of Việt Nam (left) is expected to bag a medal in taekwondo at the 19th Asian Games in September in China. VNA/|
HÀ NỘI — National top taekwondo fighter Trương Thị Kim Tuyền will face a huge challenge to win a medal in the 19th Asian Games (ASIAD) which will be held in September in China.
The former Asia champion Tuyền often competes in the women’s and 46kg and 49kg categories, of which the latter is her favourite.
In the upcoming Hangzhou event, Tuyền has no choice as there is only a 49kg class available in which Panipak Wongpattankit of Thailand will be a tough opponent for the Vietnamese fighter to overcome.
The duo have met each other in different competitions but Tuyền has never been a worthy rival to the Olympic champion Wongpattankit.
In the latest event of the 32nd SEA Games, Wongpattankit met no difficulty to beat Tuyền for the gold medal. Earlier, they fought in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics’ quarter-finals and Wongpattankit was the winner. She went on to the final and took the top podium.
In their first time at the Furaijah 2018 World Taekwondo Grand Prix in the UAE, the Vietnamese representative lost in the quarter-finals.
The Thai is the world’s leading athlete in this category as she has only lost four fights to three rivals in her professional career.
Despite her defeats to Wongpattankit, Tuyền has never been afraid of her Thai archrival and always sets a target of victory.
She said athletes suffer high pressure in every tournament. The coaching board and athletes themselves must work out for the best preparation. Thai martial artists are regular rivals to Việt Nam in all events so there was nothing to be afraid of.
Tuyền, who placed 33 in the world and 14 in Asia, said she is focused and will bring into play her best techniques to have the highest results in all competitions.
Recently, Tuyền took part in an Olympic qualifier which was also an important warm-up for the ASIAD. In the Azerbaijan competition, she defeated 2022 champion Daniela Paola Souza of Mexico in the last eighth round, which was a shock to all participants and a testament to her remarkable improvement.
According to coach Nguyễn Anh Tuấn, Tuyền’s achievement was appreciated as it was the best result of Việt Nam at the world event. She made coaches and experts believe in better results in international competitions including the ASIAD.
There will be only four weight categories for women’s athletes at the Asian Games. Tuyền is the top hope for Việt Nam to win a medal, said Tuấn.