Myanmar's dragon boat team strives for gold at Hangzhou's Asian Games

Screengrab of the team in training. - Xinhua

YANGON (Xinhua): Racing against time, a 30-member dragon boat team from Myanmar is diligently honing their skills on Yangon's Inya Lake as they prepare for the ongoing 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou.

These paddlers said that after the 32nd Southeast Asian Games, they started training intensively, preparing to face tough competitors in China.

Lin Lin Kyaw, a 27-year-old national paddler from Myanmar, told Xinhua on Tuesday (Sept 26) she is aiming for medals, including gold, at the Hangzhou Asian Games.

The seasoned athlete has participated in many international competitions, including the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, where her team narrowly missed the top three awards. However, she remains steadfast in her pursuit of medals at the Asian Games, determined to correct past mistakes and bring glory to Myanmar, Lin said.

"I made my dragon boat debut in 2016 with the enthusiasm of becoming a national paddler and to make my family proud," she said. Her father, a former national paddler himself, kindled her aspirations to follow in his footsteps, she added.

The Myanmar dragon boat team, which consists of two coaches and 28 athletes, 14 men and 14 women, will compete in men's and women's 200m, 500m and 1,000m dragon boat events on Oct. 4, 5 and 6.

For the Asian Games which are taking place in Hangzhou until Oct 8, Myanmar will send a dragon boat delegation of 33 individuals, namely 28 athletes, two coaches, and three officials from the federation. They will depart for China on Oct. 2.

Saw Moe Aung, an athlete representing Myanmar's men's national dragon boat team, expressed his eagerness to win medals at the Asian Games.

Despite many international victories, he seeks to clinch the elusive Asian Games medal.

Also, Aung views the Hangzhou Games as a unique opportunity to foster mutual friendship, engage in cross-cultural exchanges, and witness China's development.

He feels honoured to represent Myanmar for the second time at the Asian Games and looks forward to the valuable experience of competing with athletes from across Asia, Aung said.

Another athlete named Naing Lin Oo, 27, is also excited to compete in China for the first time. The Asian Games will help him learn about the lifestyles of athletes from other countries, make new friends and gain valuable experience, he noted.

"I have competed in four international games. I made my debut at the 2018 Asean University Games," he said.

"I love the paddle sport and hope my life will be better because of the sport," he said, adding that he will do his best with his team to achieve the desired results.

U Aung Lin, the coach of the women's dragon boat team, said the team members had been preparing relentlessly to achieve their desired results at the Asian Games.

"We aspire to gain not only medals, but also lasting friendships. The Asian Games draw formidable competitors from across the continent and provide us with a valuable learning opportunity," he said.

According to Myanmar's Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, a total of 111 athletes from the country are to compete in the 19th Asian Games.

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Myanmar , dragon , boat , Asian Games , Hangzhou


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