Myanmar Consolidated Media
Education feature story
60th Anniversary of Indonesia~Myanmar

Hard work, no fame for bodybuilders

By Nuam Bawi
July 11 - 17, 2011

Contestants pose during the Ms Quench ‘body shape’ contest in Yangon on July 2. Pic: Hein Latt Aung

AUNG Swe Naing, the winner of the Mr Crusher bodybuilding contest in Yangon on July 2, is very satisfied with his body, but he’s not so happy with the negative attitudes that he says are curtailing growth of his chosen sport in Myanmar.

“The biggest reason why there is so little interest in bodybuilding in Myanmar is because people from our society are very selfish,” he said

“Most people involved in bodybuilding do not want to share their techniques with others. At the same time, they feel satisfied with what they know and they have not been interested in gaining new knowledge about the sport, so it’s not as developed in Myanmar as it should be,” he said.

Another reason why bodybuilding might not be popular is the current fascination with slender and supple bodies like those of South Korean celebrities seen on television.

Nevertheless, Aung Swe Naing said the sport could be beneficial for young people.

“Bodybuilding requires a very strict daily routine, such as measuring your food intake and getting to bed by 8pm. Young people who follow such a strict regimen don’t have time to go out at night, so their parents don’t have to worry about them.

“That’s why my parents supported me when I got involved in the sport,” he said.

But competitors in “body shape” competitions, which have been held in Myanmar for decades, do not have many options for making a living from their passion.

Actress Khin Than Nu said interest in such contests has waned in recent years.

“When I won Ms Pyi-Htaung Su [Ms Union of Myanmar] in 1961, I got an offer straight away from a film director to be in a movie. From that time I started to be an actress,” said Khin Than Nu, who won Myanmar Academy Awards for best actress in 1967 and 1990, and best supporting cast in 2000.

“Nowadays there are many ‘Ms’ competitions, but we don’t see the winners in movies or on billboards like in the past. Part of it might be the changing tastes of the public, but it also concerns how much work the models put into it, plus talent and luck,” she said.

However, the top bodybuilding finishers at the July 2 Mr Crusher and Ms Quench competition have a bigger goal to aim for, as they are expected to take part in the Southeast Asian Bodybuilding Championship, which will be held in Myanmar in 2013.

“We aim to let the winners from this competition compete at the Southeast Asian Bodybuilding Championship in 2013, so we had to be careful to select those who have the potential to succeed there,” said Daw Nwe Ni Win, an executive from the Myanmar Body Building and Physical Culture Excellent Contest Federation.

“Starting from now, we are also giving bodybuilders proper training to take part in the international competition in 2013,” she said.

The July 2 competition, held at the Myanmar Convention Centre, was organised by the federation in cooperation with MGS Beverages.

Aung Swe Naing was named Mr Crusher, with second place taken by Tun Min and third by Aung Khine Win. The Ms Quench contest was won by Nguwar Khine, followed by Htike Su Win in second and Haymar Soe Win in third.