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Vietnamese marathon runner and SEA Games dream

Vietnamese marathon runner and SEA Games dream


Marathon runner Le Van Tuan, one of the oldest athletes of Vietnam at the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31), is a gold medal hopeful for Vietnam at the regional sports event thanks to his rich experience and strong resilience, according to the national steering committee for SEA Games 31.

The 38-year-old won a place at the SEA Games 31 after he won the VPBank Hanoi Marathon 2020.

He proved that his age is not an obstacle for him by leaving two younger runners Trinh Quoc Luong and Dao Minh Chi far behind at the competition, finishing the 42.195km race at 2:27:41.

“I’ve never thought that I am a running old man. My victory at the competition made me a representative for Vietnam at SEA Games 31, which is a great honour of mine,” Tuan said.

“My goal is not to come first or second, or beat anyone, but to run faster than myself yesterday,” said Tuan. He said that for marathon, young age is not a decisive factor for good results, but endurance, resilience and a steady mind for nearly three hours.

The result of 2:27:41 at the competition for a berth at SEA Games 31 at My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi was Tuan’s highest record. However, this did not satisfy him.

“I intended to finish the race within 2 hours and 25 or 26 minutes. Despite the triumph, technically, I am not satisfied about this result,” Tuan said.

Tuan’s time was close to that made by the runner-up of men’s marathon event at SEA Games 2019. This is an encourage for Tuan to be one of the three medalists, and even the first gold medalist of Vietnamese marathon at SEA Games 31.

The SEA Games 31 will be the first and may be the only regional games that Tuan will participate in. He is a gold medal hopeful of Vietnamese men’s marathon. In 2003, Vietnamese runner Nguyen Chi Dong bagged a silver medal and made a national record, which has yet to be broken.

"As an athlete, everyone wants to try their best to get the best results for the country. Me too. But marathon is developing very quickly in Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore, so I think I have to practice harder to prepare well for the tournament," Tuan said.

"I want to have the opportunity to stand on the highest podium and see the national flag flying high. That is my dream. I hope the advantage of home turf will help me realise it.”

Tuan is originally from Ninh Binh province but currently lives in Dong Nai province.

Although he came to marathon running late and mainly trains alone, in the past few years he has made remarkable progress. After being the runner-up in the Tien Phong Marathon 2020, he was called up to the national team and trained in HCM City.

Track-and-field competitions at the SEA Games 31 will take place from May 14-19 at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi, comprising 47 events. Marathon is scheduled for the last day (May 19). At the SEA Games 31, Vietnam will allow nearly 300 amateur runners to run alongside competitors for the first time ever.

SEA Games 31 is being held in Hanoi and 11 neighbouring localities until 23, featuring 40 sports with 523 events. This is the second edition of SEA Games hosted by Vietnam after the first one in 2003./.