Myanmar Swimmer Win Htet Oo Withdraws from Olympic Consideration to Protest Coup

Photo Courtesy: Instagram/@oowinhtet

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Swimmer Win Htet Oo posted a letter to social media this month disavowing the Myanmar Olympic Committee and withdrawing from consideration to represent his country at Tokyo Olympics.

Win Htet Oo posted a latter to his Facebook account earlier this month renouncing the MOC as an instrument of a government he does not recognize after a military coup led by Min Aung Hlaing earlier this year. He cites the “indiscriminate killings” of more than 600 civilians by the military and police, including a 19-year-old taekwondo athlete, Ma Kyal Sin.

Update. The Way to Tokyo.

10th April, 2021.

Posted by Win Htet Oo. Myanmar Swimmer. on Friday, April 9, 2021

Since the MOC intends to send a delegation to the Tokyo Olympics, Win Htet Oo is withdrawing himself from consideration for that team.

He wrote:

It is my belief that every ministry and minster that continues to fulfill the orders of Min Aung Hlaing and his puppet State Administration Council is acting to support the continued oppression of the Myanmar people. The MOC is a puppet organization for a military-regime that has ordered air strikes on defenceless civilians, ordered the killing of peaceful protestors, and continues to order the arrest (of) Myanmar’s democratic activists, journalists, artists and sportspersons for their activism. Let there be no point of obfuscation, the president of Myanmar’s 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 nation’s top swimmers. He attained a B cut in the men’s 50 freestyle and is fractions of a second off of one in the 100 free. He holds national records in the 50, 100 and 200 free.

Win Htet Oo was raised in Malaysia and attended high school in the Philippines. He swam collegiately at New York University. As he signed in his letter, he represented his country at the 2013 and 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

He further contends that the MOC, given its installation by a “murderous military-junta,” does not represent Myanmar or its people. He exhorted the IOC to “refuse to acknowledge the MOC as the rightful organisation responsible for the Olympic Movement in Myanmar.”

From the letter:

After two decades living in harmony with the values of Olympism I may be saying goodbye to a dream I’ve had since I first learned to swim. Standing tall among the world’s greatest athletes in equal turns I will not, but just as well I shall not march in the parade of nations under a flag steeped in my people’s blood. The day will come when the Olympic Movement can enrich the lives of Myanmar’s people. It will not be under this regime but only under a Federal Democracy where a free MOC can envision a future where sport, culture and education are blended for a new pedagogy that will herald in an age of freedom.

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