OLYMPICS

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

AN archer, a shooter, a judo cham­pion and two swim­mers: Five of Myan­mar’s seven ath­letes have fin­ished their events in this year’s Olympics, and though none have se­cured medals, each has rep­re­sented well on the world’s bright­est stage.

San Yu Htwe, a 30-year-old archer, gen­er­ated buzz last week by win­ning two head-to-head matches over high­er­ranked op­po­nents. The shocking surge up the bracket left her face-to-face with world num­ber one Ki Bo Bae on Au­gust 18, with a shot at a quar­ter­fi­nal match-up on the line.

“I was very ex­cited to shoot against a Korean archer, even more an Olympic cham­pion,” she told World Archery. “That’s why my per­for­mance to­day was very bad com­pared to the other matches. I was too ex­cited.”

The jit­ters worked to her favour at the start, as she came out with ar­rows for 9-10 to best Ki’s 8-10. The South Korean cham­pion – and even­tual bronze medal­list – fin­ished with a nine, how­ever, top­ping San Yu Htwe’s fi­nal at­tempt by two points and tak­ing a lead she would not lose. Ko Bo Bae would win the match, 6-0.

De­spite the de­feat, San Yu Htwe’s stun­ning march through the bracket was the clos­est any Myan­mar ath­lete has come to win­ning a medal in this year’s Games.

“I’m happy to get this far and face the Olympic cham­pion,” she said af­ter­ward. “It is a great ex­pe­ri­ence. I’ve learnt a lot to be with such high level ath­letes. This time is my first time. I will go back and prac­tise again to com­pete again and do my best for Tokyo 2020.”

Judo cham­pion goes down fight­ing Yan Naing Soe, Myan­mar’s age­ing judo cham­pion, made it clear go­ing into Rio that the Olympics would be his last. At 38 years old, he was the old­est fighter in his 100kg weight class.

Age, how­ever, would prove no trou­ble for Yan Naing Soe, who dis­patched his first op­po­nent Christo­pher Ge­orge from Trinidad and Tobago in the round of 32. The win set him up for a tilt with Karl-Richard Frey of Ger­many, ranked in the world top three just three years ago. Yan Naing Soe’s run ended there, as Frey won their bout handily. The Ger­man would con­tinue to ad­vance, even­tu­ally wrestling and los­ing in the bronze-medal match.

Youngest swim­mer in the Games gets his feet wet Thint Myat, the youngest male swim­mer at this year’s Games, swam his 100m fly in 1:02:54, a time which left him ranked 4 sec­onds be­hind Guyana’s Hannibal Gaskin and 5 sec­onds be­hind Mali’s Ou­mar Toure in their heat of lot­tery-ticket swim­mers. His early exit was to be ex­pected, as the 14-year-old had nei­ther the length nor strength to com­pete with big-name swim­mers such as Michael Phelps and Chad le Clos.

From the side­lines, the young Myan­mar swim­mer had a chance to see one of the more ex­cit­ing fin­ishes of this year’s Games. Lit­tle-known Sin­ga­porean Joseph School­ing shocked the world by best­ing Phelps by three quar­ters of a sec­ond, win­ning with a time of 50.39 sec­onds. For Thint Myat to be com­pet­i­tive on an Olympic stage, he’ll need to trim about 10-11 sec­onds off his time. As it stands now, he had the slow­est time clocked in this year’s 100m fly com­pe­ti­tion.

Wins her heat, misses semi-fi­nal Ei Ei Thet, who swam the 50m freestyle, won her heat against other lot­tery na­tion swim­mers, post­ing a time of 30.25 sec­onds. It would prove good enough to dis­tin­guish her from her heat com­peti­tors, but not enough to qual­ify her for the semi-fi­nal – where times were in the low- to mid-20 sec­ond range.

Pis­tol shooter just misses fi­nal round On Au­gust 11, Ye Tun Naung just missed out of the fi­nal round in the Men’s 50m pis­tol com­pe­ti­tion, fin­ish­ing with a score of 552 through six rounds.

That was good, but not quite good enough, as the fi­nal round cut off ended up at 556.

The exit marks the end of Ye Tun Naung’s Olympic run, as he nar­rowly missed the 10m pis­tol fi­nals as well.

Who is left? Run­ners Swe Li Myint Myint and San Naing will be the last two ath­letes with a chance to bring Myan­mar a medal. San Naing will run the men’s 5-kilo­me­tre race on Wed­nes­day, Au­gust 17, while Swe Li Myint Myint will run the women’s 800m race that same day.

Photo: EPA

San Yu Htwe may have lost, but the ris­ing star in Myan­mar’s archery said she was “ex­cited” to play against the best.

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