SEA Games: Vietnam's 'Iron Girl' eyes nine golds

SEA Games: Vietnam's 'Iron Girl' eyes nine golds
IRON LADY: Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Anh Vien (right) was initially registered to take part in 13 individual swimming events.

Vietnam's newest swim queen already had six gold medals in the bag ahead of last night's swimming action at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.

But Nguyen Thi Anh Vien showed no signs of letting up as she claimed a seventh title after winning the women's 400m freestyle final with a time of 4:08:66, finishing more than nine seconds ahead of second-placed Khoo Cai Lin of Malaysia.

Nguyen also shaved more than two seconds off Khoo's previous Games record, an achievement even more stunning considering the fact the Vietnamese turns 19 only in November.

Hungry for more, Nguyen insists that she never gets sick of the winning feeling.

"No, I never get tired of winning," she said, with a mischievous grin.

"When it comes to competing, there's nothing more I want than to get as many gold medals as possible.

"Before the race, I knew I could do it and I'm so happy to have won."

Even before the Games had begun, the Can Tho native had already caused quite a stir when it was revealed that she was registered for 13 individual events.

Apart from a fourth-placed finish in the 50m butterfly and pulling out of the 100m backstroke, Nguyen has medalled in all of her races with two more still to come today - the 100m butterfly and the 200m breaststroke.

Remarkably, the 18-year-old did not rule out competing in more events at future Games.

"I have been better at the middle-distance events," she admitted.

"The 400m IM (Individual Medley) and the 400m freestyle are the two events I'm looking at for next year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

"But I also want to get better at sprints and maybe I can compete in them in the coming years."

Nguyen will have to be at her best today if she wants to take her gold-medal tally to nine.

She will be up against Singapore's defending champion and Games record- holder Tao Li in the 100m backstroke, and Malaysian Christina Loh, who won the gold medal in 2013, in the 200m breaststroke.

Given her dominant performances so far, one would not bet against her standing on top of the podium once again.

And although she still has plenty of years left in her swimming career, Nguyen already has her sights set on her main goal.

"One day, I want to swim in an Olympic final," she declared.


This article was first published on June 11, 2015.
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