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Weightlifters ‘lack funds to succeed’

As the country’s top Olympic event, weightlifters should qualify for US$90,000 sponsorship each year, head of the weightlifting department of national Sports Administration of Vietnam, Do Dinh Khang said.

However the team received far less than it needed, he said.

“Of the $90,000 budget for last year’s tournaments for weightlifting and bodybuilding, we saved $50,000 for weightlifting, of which $40,000 was spent on Hoang Anh Tuan.”

At last year’s Olympic Games in Beijing, Tuan took silver medal in the men’s 56kg class – the country’s only medal of the games, and only its second in history. At the Sydney Olympics in 2000, Tran Hieu Ngan took silver medal in taekwondo.

However, Khang said this year, the cash-strapped weightlifting team would not be able to travel abroad for much-needed training.

“This year the sport will face a lack of funds for sending athletes overseas for training and competition. It means, our athletes will have little chance against top athletes in the world,” Khang said.

“We have asked the national Sports Administration to provide athletes with a special nutritional regime to help them reach their top physical condition.”

Khang says weightlifting does not receive the sponsorship other sports such as football, volleyball, swimming and badminton do.

Despite poor funding, weightlifters have continued to win honours in regional and world events.