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With an impressive performance at the qualifiers in Jordan, Nguyen Van Duong has become the first Vietnamese boxer to qualify for the Olympics in 32 years. 

To earn his spot, Duong had to defeat Thailand's Chatchai-decha Butdee, a boxer who had bested him at the recent SEA Games. Duong came out with a flurry of left hooks that sent his opponent's head spinning, and in less than 60 seconds had knocked him down twice, triggering an automatic victory according to tournament rules.

”I lost the title match against Chatchai-decha Butdee in the 2019 Southeast Asian [SEA] Games, so I am very happy to take revenge on him here. It’s even more amazing as the victory earns me a ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics,” the exhausted featherweight (52-57 kg weight-class) professed.

After a surprise thumping of Australian Charlie Senior to reach the quarterfinal and the subsequent defeat of Butdee, Duong’s winning streak came to an end when he lost on points to Jordan’s Mohammad Alwadi in the semi-finals. The efforts were enough to secure him a bronze medal, a ticket to Tokyo and the adoration of his fans.

Vietnam had little success otherwise at the boxing competition. In total, Vietnam had four participants vying for an Olympic berth, two men and two women, but only Duong made it through.

Vietnam aims to have 20 athletes attend the Tokyo Games later this year. Five have already qualified in swimming, gymnastics and archery.

[Photo via Fox Sports

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