Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Nation eyes 2 golds

Myanmar's traditional chinlone (cane ball) sport is a good medal prospect which should fetch the nation at least two gold medals at the 29th SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in August.

Chinlone players in action during a warm up competition held at Nay Pyi Daw’s Wunna Theikdi Stadium last May to prepare for the SEA Games. Photo - Myanmar Chinlone FederationChinlone players in action during a warm up competition held at Nay Pyi Daw’s Wunna Theikdi Stadium last May to prepare for the SEA Games. Photo - Myanmar Chinlone Federation

Chinlone was only introduced at the Nay Pyi Taw SEA Games in 2013 and it’s figured in every edition of the competition since.

Already, chinlone has delivered eight golds spread over two SEA Games, and the governing body of the sport in Myanmar recently affirmed that chinlone’s future seems secure as the sport will also figure in the 30th SEA Games that Philippines will be hosting in 2019.

“We have been preparing for ten months for the Games in Malaysia. We are satisfied with the current state of readiness of the national team. Our target is two gold medals,” Myanmar Chinlone Federation’s general secretary U Ko Ko Aung told The Myanmar Times.

Chinlone will be contested in four categories – non-repetition primary, same stroke, linking, and non-repetition secondary. But only hosts Malaysia have a chance to compete in all four categories, while other nations can only compete in two events and that includes Myanmar.

“As per rules, the host team can compete in all events while visiting teams can compete only in two events. So we’ll enter two events and hopefully win golds in both. But we not decided yet which events to compete in,” U Ko Ko Aung added.

The national team comprises 10 athletes. It’s a mix of senior and junior players.

“The squad is a mix of youth and experience. The level at which our traditional sport is played has improved in Southeast Asia. I think we’ll be holding more international tournaments in the future. We need new generation players and these players need experience. They will find at lot of experience at the 29th SEA Games,” said U Ko Ko Aung.

Myanmar’s main challengers will be Thailand and Cambodia. Their players have experience and international exposure. The won gold medals at the last two SEA Games. And hosts Malaysia have been training hard as well. Actually their players have been training here, in Nay Pyi Taw, since last year.

“Contending teams have improved since last year. Especially, Thailand and Cambodia have many talented players. Hosts Malaysia can also hope for gold this year,” he said.

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