Friday, August 18, 2017

Experienced Myanmar athletes for SEA Games

Eleven Myanmar athletes will be competing in the track and field events at the 29th SEA Games.

The Games will feature 46 kinds of athletic events (22 men events, 21 women events and two mixed men and women events).

Forty-six gold medals are at stake in the athletics competition, second only to swimming.

Myanmar will compete in about 10 of more than 40 events that make up the athletics competition. Of the 11 athletes Myanmar is sending six are men and the rest women. They will be competing in hammer throw, javelin throw, 10-kilometre walk, 20-kilometre walk, 800-metre, 5000-metre and 10000-metre runs.

“We will compete in the same events that we participated in the previous SEA Games. All the athletes are experienced and can hope for medals. It is not easy to win a medal but still we are hoping for silver and bronze medals,” Myanmar Track and Field Federation’s vice chairman U Mya Than Htike told the Myanmar Times.

“We selected the athletes from various institutes of sports and physical education. There are not many athletes (sources) to select from so we always compete in only a few events,” he said.

Myanmar athletes usually win medals in long distance events. Both Myanmar male and female athletes hope for sliver medals in the 5000- and 10000-metre runs while in other events they are only expecting bronze, said U Mya Than Htike matter-of-factly.

“Despite being the best athletes of Myanmar, it is not easy for them to win golds. Their rivals have better records,” he said.

The national athletes trained in Nay Pyi Taw for more than a year and now they are continuing training in China. Under government-to-government program between China and Myanmar, all national athletes selected for the upcoming Games were sent to China to further their training. The track and field team went to Kunming on May 15 for a three-month training stint which lasts until August.

“Kunming is highland. Training in Kunming will help Myanmar athletes’ resistance and capability to improve more than if they train here. Their records may improve. That’s why we chose Kunming. If they get good records while they are training in Kunming they will achieve better results in Kuala Lumpur,’’ said U Mya Than Htike.

Thailand is the athletics powerhouse in Southeast Asia, followed by Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines while Myanmar ranks a low seventh.

Phyu Whar Thet won gold medal at the 27th SEA Games in the women’s 5000 metres, the last time Myanmar won gold in athletics competition.

Myanmar won two silvers and four bronzes at the 28th edition in Singapore in 2015. Swe Li Myint and Than Than Soe got two silver medals in women 800-metre run and 20-kilometre walk respectively and Phyu Whar Thet won two bronzes in women’s 1500-metre and 5000-metre events. Kyaw Nyi Nyi Htwe and San Naing won two bronzes in men’s javelin throw and men’s 10000-metre run respectively.

Translation by Zar Zar Soe

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