Published: Tuesday December 10, 2013 MYT 7:57:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday December 10, 2013 MYT 9:59:03 PM

Myanmar couple working hard to promote badminton

Myanmar's Lwin Aung Than-Pwint Zan Phu represent their country while also coaching talents in the country.

Myanmar's Lwin Aung Than-Pwint Zan Phu represent their country while also coaching talents in the country.

NAYPYITAW: Host Myanmar and Cambodia are not strong badminton nations but it has not stopped jovial married couple Lwin Aung Than-Pwint Zan Phu and Malaysia’s N. Kogilavaanan from doing their best to promote the sport.

Shuttlers Aung Than-Zan Phu are Myanmar’s mixed doubles champions but they also work as coaches to groom talents for the country.

“My parents work in the market and, when I was 11 years old, they bought me a badminton racquet with their hard-earned money. That was the start for me in this sport,” said the 26-year-old Aung Than, who married Zan Phu five years ago.

“Now, I train full-time and I’m a part-time coach with my wife. We are still far behind in this region but interest in the game is picking up.

“We have 16 players in the national team and we were in Malaysia for two weeks just before the SEA Games. It was great to see Lee Chong Wei in training. I just couldn’t stop saying ‘wow’ all the time. Malaysian players are skilful and we lack that.

“In Myanmar, we have several challenges, like lack of sponsors and facilities. Football is the most followed sport in our country. We will continue to promote it,” added Aung Than, whose SEA Games mixed doubles campaign with Zan Phu ended after they lost to Malaysia’s Tan Aik Quan-Lai Pei Jing in the opening round on Tuesday.

While Aung Than-Zan Phu are doing their best to lift the profile of badminton in Myanmar, former Selangor player Kogilavaanan is doing his part as a national coach with Cambodia.

He has been hired by Badminton Asia Confederation (BAC) to coach Cambodia for two years.

“I’m in my seventh month now but what a wonderful experience it has been. Cambodia does not have the luxury of sponsors, facilities and a huge following like Malaysia,” said Kogilavaanan.

“Most of them are poor and my heart goes out to them ... yet, their determination to improve as a player is admirable. I have 12 players in the national team and six are competing in the SEA Games. For them, this is their biggest tournament. We do not have money to send them out for other tournaments.”

Tags / Keywords: badminton, Myanmar, Cambodia, SEA Games, Naypyitaw, Nyapidaw, Lwin Aung Than, Pwint Zan Phu, Kogilavaanan


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