Myan­mar run­ners hit the track

The Myanmar Times - - Sport - RJ VOGT rj.vogt@mm­times.com

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

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