After winning a bronze medal at the 2011 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo, Japan, Thanh continued her outstanding performance to dominate the 26th SEA Games in Indonesia, bringing home three gold medals which earned her a berth at the 2012 London Olympics.
Being able to compete in the Olympics is a dream come true for Thanh, and she says she hopes to win a medal, or even better, come out on top at the international tournament.
Thanh says, she and her colleagues will do their best to achieve this goal and they will arrive in England on January 7 to begin intensive training.
Once a gymnast, forever a gymnast
Thanh’s parents sent her to the Hai Phong city athletic training centre when she was six to help improve her physical condition.
She was determined to become a professional gymnast after watching the city’s gymnastics team practicing at the National Sports Training Centre in Tu Son in Bac Ninh province. She was immediately impressed by the grace and beauty of her elder colleagues’ movements.
Career turning point
Before her bronze at the 2011 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, Thanh won silver medals in the vault and balance beam events at the 2010 World Cup in Porto, Portugal.
However the real turning point in her career was when she was not called to be part of the Vietnamese national team at the 2006 Asian Games (ASIAD) in Doha, Qatar, because she was too young for the tournament.
Thanh was very upset, saying that as an athlete she wants to have as many chances as possible to compete and bring home titles.
Key to success
Although Thanh had gained considerable experience in international competition, she was still feeling anxious and under a lot of pressure several days before competing at the 26th SEA Games.
The first gold medal helped eased the tension and enabled her to win two more. Thanh was thrilled when her team won a total of 11 golds.
Her confidence continued to grow and she easily pocketed another gold medal in the vault after outpacing her rivals at the Toyota Cup in Japan.
In order to succeed, Thanh says in addition to having talent, an athlete has to train extremely hard. A gymnast must practice 8-12 hours a day with no breaks to learn many new and increasingly difficult movements if she wants to earn more titles.
It normally takes 3-4 years for a novice to perfect the basic movements then another 2-3 for more advanced movements. Thanh says also has to take many risks if she wants to master the movements, adding that she has been lucky to not have suffered any serious injuries.
Preparing for future
In addition to her practicing, Thanh is now studying at the University of Physical Education and Sports in Tu Son, Bac Ninh province. She wants to become an assistant to her trainer, Do Thuy Giang, to help discover and train new young gymnastic talents./.