|At SEA Games 31, Oanh wins the women’s 1,500m, 5,000m, and 3,000m steeplechase. (Photo: Quoc Khanh/ VNA)
Nguyen Thi Oanh was born in 1995 in the northern province of Bac Giang. At school Oanh took part in district-level athletics competitions, where she won her first medals.
When she was 15, Oanh went to the Bac Giang School of Physical Education and Sports for Gifted Students to pursue her dream of becoming a professional athlete. Oanh showed her strength in the women’s 1,500m, 5,000m and 3,000m steeplechase.
In 2013 Oanh broke the senior national record in the 3,000m steeplechase at the Southeast Asian Youth Championships. One year later she won a gold medal at the 2014 Asian Junior Athletics Championships. But at the end of that year, just as her career seemed set to blossom, she came down with a serious health problem and disappeared from the scene.
“In 2014, I was diagnosed with acute nephritic syndrome. For athletes, kidney and heart diseases can mean the end of their career. I had to halt my own career. I was so disappointed. But I continued through the hardship to recover and resume my career,” said Oanh.
At the 2017 SEA Games, the 3,000m steeplechase, Oanh’s event, was canceled, so she entered instead the 1,500m and 5,000m steeplechase and won gold medals in both events.
At the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia Oanh won a bronze medal in the 3,000m steeplechase with a time of 9:43.83, breaking the national record and becoming the first Vietnamese athlete to run the 3,000m steeplechase in under 10 minutes.
“The 3,000m steeplechase took great concentration. It was exciting to summon the great will and effort needed to rise to that challenge,” she said.
|Nguyen Thi Oanh excels in the 3,000m steeplechase. (Photo: Trong Hai)
At SEA Games 31, Oanh won the women’s 1,500m, 5,000m, and 3,000m steeplechase. In the 3,000m steeplechase Oanh’s time of 9:46 broke her own record of 10:00.02 set at SEA Games 30 in the Philippines.
“At SEA Games 31, I competed in the women’s 1,500m and 5,000m events in one day. It was very hard because there was no time for my body to recover. But I told myself to try hard to break the record at this SEA Games,” said Oanh.
So far Nguyen Thi Oanh has won 8 gold medals at SEA Games and 1 bronze medal at the Asian Games.