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Published: Thursday December 12, 2013 MYT 7:30:00 AM
Updated: Thursday December 12, 2013 MYT 8:27:34 AM

Kudos to Myanmar for impressive stadiums

The Wunna Theikdi Football Stadium in Naypyitaw. Despite being one of the poorest countries in South-East Asia, Myanmar has managed to build sports complexes that look better than those found in their richer SEA neighbours.

The Wunna Theikdi Football Stadium in Naypyitaw. Despite being one of the poorest countries in South-East Asia, Myanmar has managed to build sports complexes that look better than those found in their richer SEA neighbours.

MYANMAR is hosting the 27th edition of the SEA Games after a lapse of 44 years with the slogan “Green, Clean and Friendship”.

The Games are being held in two cities – Yangon, the capital of Myanmar, and Naypyitaw, the new government administration centre.

Naypyitaw, which is 391km north of Yangon, is surrounded by greenery and the people here are really friendly.

The only problem with Naypyitaw is that it’s not very clean as the people here love to chew betel leaf (sireh) and spit along the five-foot ways and on the roads.

It is not hygienic at all!

Myanmar is one of the poorest countries in South-East Asia as most of the people live in poor conditions.

Most houses in Naypyitaw are made of bamboos and are small. The men’s daily attire here is a shirt and sarong. They don’t even wear shoes as most of them like to wear Japanese slippers.

Despite the poverty in Naypyitaw, what really impresses me are the two new sports complexes – Wunna Theikdi and Zeyar Thiri.

These sports complexes are well designed, beautiful and big.

The two sports complexes look like two peas in a pod. They are located about 35km apart and provide a surreal experience for athletes and spectators alike.

They were designed by a Chinese architectural firm and built by the Myanmar Construction Company.

There are seven stadiums around the Wunna Theikdi sports complex and they are for athletics, swimming, badminton, boxing, futsal, snooker and billiards and archery – and they are all within walking distance.

The Wunna Theikdi main stadium, where the opening ceremony was held yesterday, is well equipped with facilities like individual seatings, big changing rooms, medical room, utility rooms, warm-up area and a comfortable working area for the media.

The main stadium has a 30,000-seating capacity while the indoor stadium can accommodate up to 5,000 spectators.

Athletes and officials from the 10 other countries are clearly impressed with the design of the stadiums.

The layout of the Zeyar Thiri sports complex is even better than the sports complex in Bukit Jalil, which was built in 1998 for Commonwealth Games.

The Zeyar Thiri sports complex is five times bigger than Bukit Jalil’s.

Malaysian chef-de-mission Datuk Wira Amiruddin Embi was very impressed with the stadiums in Naypyitaw.

“The layout of the stadiums in Wunna Theikdi is good. The stadiums have the latest and best facilities and this should drive the athletes to do well at the Games,” said Amiruddin.

The locals in Naypyitaw are allowed to watch the Games for free at all venues, thus giving them the chance to marvel at the beautifully-designed stadiums.

Syabas to Myanmar for building such wonderful stadiums. This just goes to show that they could, one day, even host the Asian Games.

For now, I just hope that the Myanmar Government will be able to maintain the stadiums and not let them become white elephants – something Malaysians should know very well by now.

Tags / Keywords: Myanmar, SEA Games, football, Naypyitaw, Nyapidaw, stadium, Wunna Theikdi, Zeyar Thiri

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