Vietnamese girl 11.33

Runner misses Olympic ticket thanks to wind


HA NOI — The International Athletics Federation has determined Viet Nam runner Vu Thi Huong will not automatically qualify for next year’s Olympic Games in Beijing.

Her running time of 11.33 seconds at the Asian Athletic Championships in the women’s 100m in July will not count due to the wind support contributing to her quick speed.

Huong, seen as the new “Queen of speed”, took the silver medal in the 100m at the Jordan Asian Athletics event four months ago, where she also claimed a bronze for the 200m.

Though Huong’s current record (11.33 seconds) falls within Olympic requirements (11.40 seconds), her eligibility relies upon the International Athletics Federation’s (IAF) recognition of the score. However, according to IAF rules, if an athlete runs with the wind and the wind speed is over 2m per second, times are only recognised at the tournament, not by the Olympic committee.

Huong can still make the Beijing games next year if she does well at the upcoming 24th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

This may pose problems for Viet Nam as local experts say the country has only two track athletes able to make it to the 2008 Olympics, high jumper Bui Thi Nhung and Huong. However, Nhung lost her chance at the recent Asian Indoor Games when she failed to clear 1.91m.

“This incident forces Huong to exert greater efforts at tournaments preceding the 2008 Olympics. She still has high hopes, and the standard for the women’s 100m race is within her reach,” said Duong Duc Thuy, head of the Athletics Division under the Elite Sports Department.

“There are still many chances to qualify for the Olympic Games, and the SEA Games will be a good opportunity for me to do that,” said Huong after the IAF informed her that she would not automatically qualify. — VNS

What was the wind reading?