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Feature: Myanmar aims for medals, experience at Hangzhou Asian Games

YANGON, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- As the 19th Asian Games approach, Myanmar's elite athletes are ramping up their preparations. They're setting their sights on both medals and personal growth.

This year, Myanmar will compete in seven sports at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. Over 100 national athletes are committed to achieving their best performance, according to the nation's sports ministry.

Thant Zin Oo, 38, captain of Myanmar's men's sepak takraw team, voiced his determination to win medals, including gold. He noted that their Asian Games team consists of both young talents and seasoned athletes.

"We want gold medals. It is a challenging task, but we're giving it our all," said Thant Zin Oo. He acknowledged the growing competitiveness in sepak takraw in recent years, which has made it harder for Myanmar to clinch medals on the international stage as they once did.

Myanmar has high expectations for sepak takraw at this year's Asian Games. Historically, the country hasn't secured multiple medals in this sport during international events.

Khin Hnin Wai, a 31-year-old athlete from Myanmar's women's national sepak takraw team for the Asian Games, shared her excitement about competing in China for the first time.

While recognizing Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand as formidable competitors, Khin stated, "We are preparing our best and will do our best to secure medals at the Asian Games."

She also emphasized the Asian Games' potential in fostering friendships among athletes from various countries and regions, highlighting the unifying power of sports.

Pyae Sone Hnin, a 23-year-old archery athlete with eight years of experience, is equally passionate about the upcoming competition, marking her debut in China.

"I don't anticipate winning gold or silver medals in such a competitive event, but I'm determined to deliver my best performance and gain invaluable international experience," she expressed.

"The Asian Games will facilitate friendship among participating athletes," she added, noting it will also be her first trip to China.

Scheduled from September 23 to October 8, the Asian Games are expected to attract approximately 12,000 athletes from 45 countries and regions. They'll compete in 40 sports across 481 events.

Myanmar's athletes will participate in football, taekwondo, Wushu, dragon boat racing, Esports, archery, and sepak takraw this year. During the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, Myanmar secured two medals in Wushu and sepak takraw.

Khun Jar Aung, a director from the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, will lead a delegation of over 100 national athletes to Hangzhou, representing Myanmar at the Asian Games.

"We expect to get medals from the three sports of sepak takraw, Wushu, and dragon boat racing in the Asian Games this year," Khun said.