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Hong Le and the 31st SEA Games’ goal of changing the color of medals

17 Apr 2022 | 14:02 | Football

16 of the 98 gold medals won by the Vietnamese sports delegation at the 30th Southeast Asian Games came from track and field. No other sport has contributed to glory at the SEA Games in the Philippines more than the Queen’s.

But at the 30th Southeast Asian Games, an unforgettable symbol of athletics and Vietnamese sports in particular came from a bronze medal.

On December 6, 2019, the Vietnamese track and field team participated in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, and Nguyen Thi Hong Lok participated in the marathon (42.195 kilometers). There were many ominous signs in the content when the host nation’s organizers only announced the running route the day before the race.

Hong Le and SEA Games goal to change medal color 31 - 1

Hong Le burst into tears when he won the bronze medal at the 31st SEA Games in the marathon.

Even at sports marathons, running routes are always announced in advance, even months, rather than days. This helps the participating athletes investigate the route and prepare appropriate tactics.

The hidden route in the host country, the Philippines, was at its best when many athletes (including Hong Le) faced difficulties on the track due to the heat and steepness. Indonesian athlete Naibaho Elvina, who was leading just 1km from the finish line, suddenly lost his way and lost his medal. Two athletes from the host country Philippines crossed the finish line without encountering any obstacles.

Hong Le had difficulty on the track, but also finished third, taking the bronze medal. The 1998-born athlete collapsed from exhaustion immediately after reaching the finish line and had to be given water and medical support. Le couldn’t even put on his pants and walked to the podium to accept the award, tears streaming down his face.

The image of Le Weeping has become a symbol of the perseverance of Vietnamese track and field athletes. If you look back at Hong Le’s entire career and rise, the tears in the Philippines can be explained.

Hong Le’s original dream was not track and field. One girl in Pingding was passionate about martial arts and begged her parents to let her go to school. But because of his poor family, Le could only study for a month before taking a leave of absence. As the fifth child of six siblings, Le understands she can’t be demanding.

At this time, Le fell in love with track and field, a sport that only requires shoes to practice. Le’s subsequent training efforts yielded promising results. She entered the provincial track team after winning the 2000-meter cross country championship in two years.

After playing in the provincial team for 4 years, Le became a national team player. In 2017, at the age of 19, Le participated in the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia and won a bronze medal in the distance of 10,000 meters.

The ability to overcome challenges is the strength of track and field athletes, especially Hong Le. At the end of 2016, I went to the appendix operating table and took a 3-month break. But when she knew the national championships were about to begin, she asked him to participate despite her weight gain and fresh recovery. However, Le still won the bronze medal in the distance of 5000 meters.

Growing up in the Midlands, Hong Le was considered physically fit for long-distance running. This is not the strength of Vietnamese athletics, as both the Philippines and Indonesia have very strong athletes.

But with her performance in the 30th SEA Games, Hong Le showed that if the host hadn’t played badly, she could have created a surprise at this extreme distance.

Hong Le and SEA Games goal to change medal color 31 - 2

Hong Le achieved a very good result over the distance of 10,000 m and got a great opportunity to change the color of the medal at the 31st Southeast Asian Games. Photo: Minh Chien.

However, share with green, Hong Le said that she will not participate in the marathon content of the 31st SEA Games. “Instead of running a marathon, I focused on the 10,000 meters. The 10,000-meter event will be held on the afternoon of May 18, and the morning of May 19 will be the content of the marathon, so you cannot participate.“, Hong Le revealed.

The girl who was born in 1998 also affirmed her goals in the 31st SEA Games:”I’m aiming to win gold in the 10,000m main event.As for the 5000 meters, I will compete with my teammates“.

The distance of 10,000 meters is actually the first event for Hong Le to win a medal in the regional competition. Binh Dinh won the bronze medal in the 10,000m at the 29th Southeast Asian Games with a time of 37:06.64. In the national championships in December 2021, Hong Le broke the national record with a time of 34:1.59.

If she maintains this result, Hong Le has a good chance of successfully changing the color of the medal at the 31st SEA Games when the athletes who won the 10,000-meter gold medal in the last two races have only reached the 36-minute mark.

The only runner in the region to break the 34:1.59 mark of Hong Le, the legendary figure of Trianin Temple in Indonesia, did not participate in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, so it is difficult to suddenly return and maintain the regional advantage. The 10,000 m trajectory is the same as during 2007-2015.

Hong Le is still very young, and there are still many SEA Games. If the color of the 10,000m medal is successfully changed at the upcoming 31st SEA Games, observers have every right to expect Le to return to the marathon content at the next conference and do the same in the extreme content of the best track and field.