Myanmar’s top swimmer quits Olympic dream in protest against military violence

Swimmer Win Htet Oo has given up on his dream to compete at the Tokyo Olympics in protest against the Myanmar military junta’s “murderous regime”.

The 26-year-old swimmer, Win Htet Oo, wrote to the International Olympic Committee and asked to compete as an independent athlete, but his request was denied. Photo: Pixabay

CAPE TOWN, May 03 (ANA) – Swimmer Win Htet Oo has given up on his dream to compete at the Tokyo Olympics in protest against the Myanmar military junta’s “murderous regime”.

The 26-year-old took to social media in April and said he would not accept the Myanmar Olympic Committee (MOC). He wrote to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), asking to compete as an independent athlete, but his request was denied.

South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported that more than 759 people have been killed since the February 1 military coup in Myanmar, which saw civilians taking to the streets in protest and calling for a return to democracy.

“I shall not march in the (opening ceremony) Parade of Nations under a flag steeped in my people’s blood,” wrote Win Htet Oo.

“It is my hope that the IOC refuses to acknowledge the MOC as the rightful organisation responsible for the Olympic Movement in Myanmar,” he said.

After missing out on the 2016 Rio Olympics, Win Htet Oo moved to Australia in 2017, where he works as a lifeguard, in order to get the training he required.

According to Japan Today, Win Htet Oo started swimming at the age of six to become one of the leading swimmers in Myanmar.

On Saturday, Win Htet Oo turned to social media once again to thank those who supported his decision to reject the MOC.

“Over the last week I have tried my best to articulate, to those who have given me the opportunity to speak,” Win Htet Oo wrote on his Facebook page.

“My rejection of the MOC stems from my desire to join the Civil Disobedience Movement in Myanmar as a Myanmar athlete.

“I will try to fulfil my obligations to Myanmar as a sports person to institute an international boycott of the Myanmar Olympic Committee,” he said.

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Yaron Blecher

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