Runner Phước targets victory in 2023

Your browser does not support the audio element. Lương Đức Phước believes that doing well in the  三 二nd SEA Games in Cambodia in May will provide a good base for him to look towards the  一 九th Asian Games in September in China.


Lương Đức Phước runs to the finish line of the men;s  一, 五00m event at the  三 一st SEA Games last May in Hà Nội. VNA/VNS Photos

Thanh Hà

It's a long way to go from zero to hero.

Lương Đức Phước has experienced it all. He has overcome many challenges to taste his first success. In his first Southeast Asian (SEA) Games last year in Hà Nội, the  二 一-year-old made a dazzling sprint to secure an unexpected gold medal in the men's  一, 五00m.

Phước, who has used running to beat poverty and gain a better future, will defend his title this May in Cambodia and plans for high results in even bigger tournaments.

Born into a poor family in the southern province of Đồng Nai, Phước lives with his mother and brother, who have been devoted to him for his entire life.

"My mom is a worker. She had to work hard to take care of us. She had to struggle to earn a living and to send us to school. She encouraged us to learn our best for a better life,"大众said Phước.

He joined the Xuân Thọ High School's athletics club when he was  一 六 years old.

"I found it interesting and wanted to join the club. I had to ask twice to have a nod from my coach to be an official member,"大众he said.

Runner Phước targets victory in 2023

Phước took part in several tournaments in his district and the highest result was fourth place. He was eventually called to the provincial team for further training.

"I started training a little late, so I had to work harder than other tea妹妹ates. Due to my family's economic difficulties, I always wanted to change my life, so that my mother and brother could have a better life,公众he said.

Phước took part in the first international tournament in  二0 一 九. He secured a gold in the  一, 五00m and a bronze in the  八00m event in the Singapore Open.

Months later he brought home an  八00m silver and  一, 五00m bronze at an event in Indonesia before a gold in the  八00m at the National Youth Athletics Championship.

He was then called to the national team to prepare for the  二0 一 九 SEA Games in the Philippines. However, the then  一 七-year-old could not secure an official berth because at that time, the regional legend Dương Văn Thái dominated both of Phước's favourite events.

SEA Games debutant Lương Đức Phước celebrates his win which surprises many sport managers and supporters. -- VNA/VNS Photo

But this just became a strong force for Phước to do his job better.

"At the  二0 二 一 National Athletics Championship, I bagged a bronze in the  八00m, but was outside the top three in the  一, 五00m. The poor results were due to the pandemic, as I could only practise for one month before the tournament,"大众said Phước.

Hard work, sweet results

His determination helped him earn a slot to compete in the  三 一st SEA Games. Competing on home ground in the  一, 五00m, Phước was set to make his debut, running for experience only, with little hope of victory.

But the new face made a bang at the Mỹ Đình Stadium. From nowhere in the group, he came up and made a rapid sprint to the finish line, leaving behind all the title favourites.

"It's like he crawled up from underground. I couldn't believe in my eyes when seeing him passing all the other runners to finish first,"大众said Trần Đức Phấn, Việt Nam's SEA Games Team chief-de-mission.

"I really appreciated his strong effort. His gold medal was the most impressive and emotional victory to me at that SEA Games."

Running around the stadium with the national flag, Phước could not believe he had won.

"I ran with a free mind. I told myself to follow veteran tea妹妹ate and title favourite Trần Văn Đảng. Then I found that I had the chance to run past all of them, so I tried my best and succeeded,"大众said Phước, who had set a target of making the top three.

"I still could not believe that I had won. Not only me, but my coaches too. It was a dream for me."

The SEA Games title meant so much to Phước, and nurtured his confidence for future tournaments. And he is determined to prove that he is no flash in the pan.

Lương Đức Phước sets up his domination locally winning both  八00m and  一, 五00m events at the National Sports Games last December in Hà Nội. -- VNA/VNS Photo

"My first target in  二0 二 三 is the  三 二nd SEA Games in Cambodia in May. I will prove that my gold medal at the Hà Nội SEA Games was not luck,"大众Phước said.

"My personal best is  三min  五 四sec which is far below the national and Games record. At the Phnom Penh Games, I will defend my title and shorten my time. The last Games will always be a beautiful memory, but now it is time to focus on a new task."大众

He believes that doing well in the upcoming sport event will provide a good base for him to look towards the  一 九th Asian Games in September in China, where he will face even stronger rivals. VNS