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Swimmer Win Htet Oo posted a letter to social media this month dismissing the Myanmar Olympic Committee and stepping back from the idea of representing his country at the Tokyo Olympics.
Win Htet Oo published the latter on his Facebook account earlier this month and renounced the MOC as an instrument of a government that he does not recognize after a military coup led by Min Aung Hlaing earlier this year. He cites the “indiscriminate murders” of more than 600 civilians by the military and police, including a 19-year-old taekwondo athlete, Ma Kyal Sin.
As the MOC intends to send a delegation to the Tokyo Olympics, Win Htet Oo is withdrawing from the exam for this team.
I believe that any ministry and minister who continues to obey the instructions of Min Aung Hlaing and his puppet State Administrative Council will ensure the continued oppression of the Myanmar people supported. The MOC is a puppet organization for a military regime that has ordered air strikes on defenseless civilians, ordered the killing of peaceful protesters and continues to order the arrest of (of) Myanmar’s democratic activists, journalists, artists and athletes for their activism. The President of the Myanmar Olympic Committee is a cabinet minister for a regime that continues to murder innocent people like Ma Kyal Sin.
Win Htet Oo is one of the best swimmers in the country. He achieved a B-cut in the men’s 50s freestyle and is a fraction of a second off a 100s freestyle. He holds national records in the 50, 100 and 200 free.
Win Htet Oo grew up in Malaysia and attended high school in the Philippines. He swam collegially at New York University. When he signed his letter, he was representing his country at the 2013 and 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
Win the 26-year-old Myanmar swimmer, Htet Oo, who will skip the Tokyo Olympics in protest against the coup.
His statement reads: “I will not take part in the Parade of Nations under a flag that is in the blood of my people.” #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar #TokyoOlympics https://t.co/Ir9lF8Tu1t
He further asserts that the MOC, in view of its installation by a “murderous military junta”, does not represent Myanmar or its people. He admonished the IOC “to refuse to recognize the MOC as the rightful organization responsible for the Olympic movement in Myanmar”.
After two decades in line with the values of Olympism, I may be saying goodbye to a dream I’ve had since I first learned to swim. I will not do it if I am in equal parts among the greatest athletes in the world, but just as well I will not march in the Parade of Nations under a flag in the blood of my people. The day will come when the Olympic Movement can enrich the lives of the people of Myanmar. It will not be under this regime, but only under a federal democracy in which a free MOC can envision a future in which sport, culture and education will merge into a new pedagogy that will usher in an age of freedom.
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