Nguyen Thi Oanh, golden girl of Vietnamese athletics

Chia sẻ

(VOVWORLD) - Runner Nguyen Thi Oanh has become the first Vietnamese track and field athlete to win 4 individual gold medals at one Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games). Oanh managed to win 2 gold medals for two races scheduled 20 minutes apart at the ongoing 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia. With her recent achievement, Oanh has won 12 gold medals in her career and has been dubbed “the golden girl of Vietnamese athletics”.

Nguyen Thi Oanh, golden girl of Vietnamese athletics - ảnh 1Athlete Nguyen Thi Oanh reaches the finish line at SEA Games 32 in Cambodia. (Photo: Viet An)

Nguyen Thi Oanh, 28, is the best middle-distance runner in Southeast Asia. At SEA Games 32, Oanh was entered in four events: 1,500m, 3,000m with obstacles, 5,000m, and 10,000m.

On the first day of the track and field competition, she easily won a gold medal in the 5,000m race. But Oanh had to face a new challenge when the organizers announced a change of schedule. She had to run the 1,500m 20 minutes before running the 3,000m obstacle race. She accepted the bad news without complaint and cruised to 2 more gold medals, making SEA Games history.

“The coaches and I were very worried about the unexpected change of schedule, but we tried to find the most suitable tactics and I did my best to finish,” said Oanh.

On the eighth and final lap of the 3,000m event at Morodok Techo Stadium, Oanh ran flat out to the finish line, leaving her Philippines rival behind and winning her third gold medal of the games.

“I had mixed emotions and was exhausted. I felt happy and grateful for the support of the spectators, and the Vietnamese sports delegation, who encouraged me to finish two difficult races in a very short time,” said Oanh.

Later, Oanh won her fourth gold medal in the women's 10,000m event with a time of 35m in 11.53sec.

Oanh’s achievement impressed the audience and the media. The AFP news agency said Vietnam's athletes have dominated regional track and field and the international press called Oanh winning 3 gold medals the feat of the 32nd SEA Games.

Nguyen Thi Oanh, golden girl of Vietnamese athletics - ảnh 2Nguyen Thi Oanh celebrates her victory at SEA Games 32. (Photo: Viet An) 

Oanh, who is just 1.5 meters tall, took up track and field when she was 15. At first, she didn’t think she could pursue the sport for long due to her physical limitations, diseases, and injuries.

In 2014, Oanh was diagnosed with weak kidneys, and couldn’t participate in SEA Games 28 in Singapore.

“The biggest challenge for me has been overcoming injuries and conditions which prevented me from practicing. I have also undergone times when I felt depressed and exhausted and had to overcome those challenges with a great effort of will,” Oanh recalled.

Oanh won two gold medals at the 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia, a bronze medal at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, and two more gold medals at the 2020 SEA Games in the Philippines. With another four gold medals at SEA Games 32, Oanh has won 12 golds in her career.