YANGON, June 25 (Xinhua): 18-year-old Kyar Thway said he was excited as he would return to the boxing ring after more than two years of hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kyar Thway, who made his debut as a Myanmar traditional boxer when he was 12 years old, was waiting at Yangon's Theinbyu Stadium on Saturday afternoon for his 63.5-kg weight class match.
"I feel slightly unmotivated as I was absent from the boxing fight for more than two years," he said, adding that he would compete his best to win the bout at the Shwe Aung Lan Myanmar Lethwei Championship.
Myanmar Traditional Lethwei Federation (MTLF) affiliated with the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs has organized the competition, which runs from June 25 to July 10.
"Since the Covid-19 outbreak, it is the first Myanmar Lethwei championship event that allows fans to enter the stadium in line with Covid-19 guidelines," MTLF president U Thein Aung told Xinhua.
"MTLF will also select the lethwei players for the upcoming SEA Games from this championship event," he added.
Nakha Min, 22, has come from southern central Myanmar's Bago Region to compete at the event in Yangon.
"I feel calm returning to the boxing ring," he said before competing in the event's 63.5kg class.
"We allowed the lethwei event to be organized in line with Covid-19 guidelines to encourage sports in Myanmar," U Tun Thant, a director from the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, told Xinhua.
"COVID-19 infection was significantly low in the country," he said, adding that it is one of the reasons for allowing fans in attendance.
Myanmar reopened its borders and international airport for overseas visitors on 17 April. Some foreign nationals also came and watched the fights at the Yangon's Theinbyu Stadium on Saturday.
Tun Tun Min, 29, former openweight lethwei world champion, also came and watched the lethwei bouts on Saturday.
"It is very good to watch the Myanmar traditional lethwei matches inside the stadium again," 19-year-old spectator Ye Lin Oo told Xinhua.
"I haven't watched lethwei fights inside the stadium for more than two years," he added. - Xinhua