Myanmar Replaces SEA Games Events With 'Traditional Sports,' Including Chinlone
Myanmar "has dropped popular Olympic sports" from the Southeast Asian Games in December, and "hopes to pack the competition with less well-known sports where its athletes are likely to win medals," according to the BANGKOK POST. The Games, to be held in capital Nay Pyi Daw and other locations, "will not have table tennis, tennis, gymnastics or badminton." Instead, Myanmar sports authorities have put 14 "traditional sports on the schedule, eight of which are played almost exclusively in Myanmar." One traditional sport is chinlone, which a newspaper described as a mix of "dance-like acrobatics mixed with soccer juggling skills" (BANGKOK POST, 1/28). In N.Y., Thomas Fuller wrote the SEA Games "is causing acrimony long before a single athlete has competed." National Olympic Committee of Thailand President Yuthasak Sasiprapha said that Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand "all intend to participate" in the competition, and have each "sent separate letters to Myanmar protesting the way the event is being organized." Yuthasak said, "These games are supposed to bring unity, but they are causing divisions instead." The country's Ministry of Sport Dir U Htay Aung said, "Every host country has the authority to decide which competitions should be included and excluded" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/27).