Vietnam promises golden bonanza

VIETNAMESE athletes at next month's SEA Games were given extra incentive to go for gold with officials promising cash prizes, air tickets, motorcycles and television sets to winners.

Vietnam hosted a send-off ceremony in Hanoi on Tuesday for the 396 athletes who will take part in the June 5-16 multi-sport biennial games in Singapore, announcing a gold-medal winner would take home 45 million Vietnamese dong (S$2,750). Officials said on-the-spot awards from sponsors and business houses would also be given out.

"With our careful preparation for months, Vietnamese athletes are determined to win from 56 to 65 gold medals and enter the top three in the medal tally," the delegation's head Tran Duc Phan was quoted as saying by Vietnam News.

Vietnam finished third at the 2013 Games in Myanmar with 74 golds behind table-topping Thailand and the hosts.