“To achieve the target of standing in top three, Vietnam needs to take at least 65-70 gold medals,” said Trần Duc Phan, deputy head of National Sports Administration.
“Athletes and coaches will try their best to gain the best result for the delegation.”
Athletics is a sport which Vietnam will send the most athletes with 47 men and women.
The medal hopes are runners Le Tu Chinh in the women’s 100m and 200m, Nguyen Thi Huyen in the women’s 400m hurdles, Vu Thi Men in the women’s triple jump, Duong Van Thai in the men’s 800m, Nguyen Thi Oanh in the women’s 1,500m, and Bui Van Đong in the men’s long jump.
At the SEA Games two years ago, Vietnam won 17 golds, surpassing Thailand to top the region.
However, according to head of the athletics section of National Sports Administration Duong Duc Thuy, it will be hard for Vietnamese track and field athletes this time around.
“Compared to two years ago, the force of Vietnamese athletics has changed much,” said Thuy.
“The number of good athletes is fewer. Meanwhile, the Philippines strengthened as have other countries. So it is difficult for us to restore the previous achievement, but we will try to gain 15 golds,”
Another sport that may help Vietnam reach their target is swimming. Nguyen Thi Anh Vien is aiming for 8-10 gold medals.
Vien, who is from the southern city of Can Tho, is training in the US for the tournament.
One of Vietnam’s most talented athletes, Vien has trained in the US since 2012 with the expense covered by the National Sports Administration and her team, the military team.
Across four SEA Games, the 22-year-old has bagged 19 gold, seven silver and two bronze medals and broken 11 regional records.
At the Games 2015 and 2017, Vien won eight gold medals each.
In addition, the men’s and women’s football team are also going for gold medals in the Philippines.
The women’s team has triumphed in the 2019 AFF Women’s Championship, which is a massive morale boost for the event.
On the men’s side, U22 Vietnam beat U22 China 2-0 in a friendly match in Wuhan last month. They will have another friendly match with UAE on October 13 at Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City.
Launched in 1959, the SEA Games is a biennial multi-sport event involving participants from 11 countries in Southeast Asia.
This year’s competition begins at the end of November.