Myanmar's Olympic hope: women

2000-08-29 11:46

Yangon, Myanmar - Myanmar will send seven athletes in four disciplines - track and field, archery, swimming and women's weightlifting - to the Sydney Olympics, according to Maung Win, director of the Sports and Physical Education Department.

The country, also known as Burma, took part in only track and field and shooting at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

"We place high hopes on our three-member women's weightlifting team. They have taken part in the World Championship and won medals in several international competitions. Their main rival is China," Maung Win said.

Making up the trio are Kathy Win, Swe Swe Win and Khin Moe Nwe.

Swimmer Moe Thu Aung is another national star, but while she has notched victories in Asian competition, she falls below Olympic medal standards.

Asked if there were any financial constraints in sending athletes to the Olympics, Maung Win said, "There are several private companies who are willing to finance our teams. The main constraint is the quality of our athletes."

Maung Win said the government would reward any athletes who returned home from Sydney with medals.

"Our objective in sending the Myanmar team is for participation and experience.

"Although many of our athletes have won medals in Southeast Asian Games, they are not qualified enough when it comes to the Olympics," he said.

Myanmar first entered the Olympic scene at the 1936 games in Berlin when a Myanmar athlete was included in the British Empire's India team.

The impoverished Southeast Asian nation has yet to win an Olympic medal. - Sapa-AP