Monday, September 25, 2017

No old sea dogs for Myanmar

A flotilla of youngsters will represent Myanmar in the sailing events at this year’s Southeast Asian Games.

The Myanmar fleet train for the 2015 Singapore SEA Games off the coast of Ngwe Saung. Photo: Facebook/Myanmar Sailing FederationThe Myanmar fleet train for the 2015 Singapore SEA Games off the coast of Ngwe Saung. Photo: Facebook/Myanmar Sailing Federation

Of the 10 sailors heading for Singapore to compete in the regatta in Marina Bay, only one is over the age of 20, with the remainder of the squad being just 14 and 15 years old.

“After the 2013 SEA Games, a large number of our sailors retired. So we chose to pull together a team of talented youngsters and build for the future,” Maung Win, vice president of the Myanmar Sailing Federation.

The elder of the group, July Hmway, who trains in Thailand, will be targeting a gold medal. But for the remainder of the squad, their Games focus will be on developing experience as part of a long-term plan.

“This is a long-term strategy,” Sai Pyae Sone Hein, the federation’s head coach told The Myanmar Times.

“We will have 10 sailors competing in six events but we only hope for one gold medal. Our target is for our athletes to gain experience for the future.

“Although our sailors are young, their training began after the last SEA Games and they are therefore well-experienced for their age after competing in many local matches.”

The Singapore Games will put up 20 gold medals for sailing events but Myanmar is sending only the sailors they believe will get the most from the contest.

“We are currently training 30 young athletes and we chose 10 from that wider squad. The focus of all these athletes is now settled on the SEA Games but with a view to future international competition,” added Sai Pyae Sone Hein.

In 2013, when Myanmar hosted, Singapore won five of the 13 golds available while Myanmar won two, plus one silver and two bronze. The coach believes local waters will only play further into the hands of Singapore’s sailors.

“Irregular weather, changing wind direction and water currents will present a tough challenge for our athletes,” said Sai Pyae Sone Hein.

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