Myanmar runners hit the track
AS the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro draw to a close, Myanmar’s final two athletes are preparing to represent their country on the track today.
On the men’s side, 25-year-old San Naing will run the 5000m at 7:35pm MMT, hoping to qualify for the final race to be run on August 21. The top man to watch in the event, Mo Farah of Great Britain, hopes to become the first man since 1976 to win the distance title two Games in a row.
Farah’s winning time at the 2012 London Games – 13:41.66 – is two minutes faster than San Naing’s 5000m time from the 2015 SEA Games, when he finished with a time of 15:13.83. But before he can ever hope to face the defending gold medallist, San Naing must run well in the heat tonight.
Swe Li Myint Myint, 23, will race afterward at 8:25pm MMT in the women’s 800m. Her personal best in the event was set in Nay Pyi Taw in 2013, when she finished in 2:08.20. But Like her compatriot San Naing, Swe Li Myint Myint will need to show immense improvement to emerge from her heat and compete in the semifinals on August 19.
She won an 800m silver medal at the 2015 SEA Games, finishing with a 2:10:21 – two seconds shy of her personal best and five seconds behind that year’s gold medallist, Do Thi Thao of Vietnam.
To qualify for the semis, she will need to break the 2-minute mark. The favourite for the event looks to be Caster Semenya, a South African sprinter who has won eight 800m races in her last eight attempts. Some analysts have predicted Semenya to potentially break Jarmila Kratochvilova’s 33-yearold world record of 1:53.28 in Rio. BRITAIN’S Justin Rose was listening to “God Save The Queen” and watching the Union Jack rise into the sky on August 14 while still trying to fully appreciate the historic Olympic gold medal around his neck.
The 36-year-old Englishman had outduelled Sweden’s Henrik Stenson in a tension-packed Rio final-round thriller to capture the first Olympic golf title in 112 years and was in the midst of a dream made real while on the podium.
“That was a really surreal moment,” Rose said. “It’s a moment we’ve seen in other sports. It felt very different to any other tournament.
“Obviously when the national anthem goes up, it’s a very profound moment. It’s a very proud moment when you are able to share this moment with people back home.”
Rose pitched the ball 18 inches from the cup on the par-5 18th hole and sank the birdie putt to beat Stenson by two strokes for the greatest triumph of his life.
“Oh my God. That felt better than anything I’ve ever won. It was the best tournament I’ve ever done,” Rose said.
“Coming up with that last pitch when I needed it was magical.”
Rose fired a closing 4-under par 67 to finish 72 holes on 16-under 268. Stenson, whose poor chip left him a near-impossible putt to stay level with Rose, closed with a bogey to take the silver on 270, one stroke ahead of US bronze medallist Matt Kuchar.
Asia tour golfers come up short Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat finished his run at the Olympic Games with his best score of 4-under-par 67 to finish tied for fifth place with Australia’s Marcus Fraser.
The 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion managed six birdies over in his last round, good for a four-day total of 8-under-par 276. Two bogeys on the final day kept him out off the medal podium, however, as he missed a chance to add to Thailand’s already impressive tally of four medals overall.
Fraser, who held the lead for the first two rounds, had a shot at victory as he made the turn on Sunday. But three bogeys and two birdies in his back-nine dashed all hopes of a podium finish for the current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader. – Staff