Monday, September 25, 2017

Myanmar wins two trophies in Asian Chinlone Championship

Myanmar's men’s and women’s teams each won first prize in the 2nd Asian Chinlone Championship, comprised of four separate events.

The Laos women’s team waits to receive the ball. Photos: Phyo KyawThe Laos women’s team waits to receive the ball. Photos: Phyo Kyaw

Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India, Iran, Cambodia, Myanmar, Korea, Thailand, Laos and Japan competed in the men’s competition. Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia competed in the women’s competition.

According to U Zaw Maung Maung Myint, the secretary of the Myanmar Chinlone Federation, both winning Myanmar teams took home the non-repetition first-place prizes. The other categories went to international teams. Malaysia’s men’s and women’s teams won the upper level non-repetition events, while the mens team from Laos and the women’s team from Indonesia took home the same stroke category. In the linking competitions, the Cambodian men and Thai women won.

Myanmar Chinlone Federation chief referee U Thein Han said that though there are 10 events, regulations reduced efforts to invite international teams to participate, which in turn diminished interest in the competition.

“As inexperienced teams, they have difficulty to competing at the lowest, domestic levels,” he said. “Firstly they need to get more interested in the sport of chinlone. In inexperienced countries like Iran, those levels will develop eventually.”

The Myanmar team poses with the trophy they won for first place in non-repetition.The Myanmar team poses with the trophy they won for first place in non-repetition.

The Iranian team travelled more than 4500 kilometres (12,800 miles) to compete in the tournament. U Thein Han said the MCF is planning to send coaches there in order to help teach some of the fundamentals of the sport.

“Technical skill is important in chinlone,” he said. “If they can practise systematically, they can learn exercises: one month’s worth of training in just 10 days.”

Though many of the teams were unfamiliar with Myanmar’s national sport, Iran’s squad was especially new to chinlone – and Myanmar in general. Hamidreza, a player from the team, said his teammates had only played sepak takraw – chinlone played like volleyball over a net – and had never tried the traditional version.

“This is the first time we have visited Myanmar, and we’ve never played chinlone before. We practised about once a month before coming,” he said on February 19. “It’s very wonderful seeing Myanmar people playing chinlone. It’s such an amazing game.”

The Myanmar mens team competes in the finals.The Myanmar mens team competes in the finals.

He added that Iran hopes to build on its second place finish in the same stroke category. The next Asia Chinlone Competition, set for Indonesia in 2018, is already circled on his calendar.

Khenkittisack, the manager of the Lao team that won the first prize in the same stroke category, said his team first saw chinlone in 2013 at the 27th Southeast Asia Games. Before that, they had only played sepak takraw. They plan to continue competing in chinlone tournaments, building on the success in Mandalay.

In a press conference, held on January 29, U Thaung Htike, deputy minister for sport, said that chinlone is Myanmar’s traditional sport and therefore also related to culture. To build more cultural understanding in the region, the government has invited all Asian countries to pick up the sport. It will be included in the 29th Southeast Asian Games in 2017 in Kuala Lumpur.

The competitions were held in the stadium near Waiyawsana Jade Pagoda in Amarapura township, Mandalay Region. The Ministry of Sports and Mandalay Region government hosted the activities from February 16 to 19.


Translation by Khant Lin Ooa nd Khine Thazin Han

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