Win Htet Oo, one of Myanmar’s top swimmers, withdrew from consideration to compete in the Tokyo Olympics as a protest against the ongoing coup happening in the Southeast Asian country.
The withdrawal: The 27-year-old swimmer made the announcement on Facebook on April 10 after the military took over the government in February, reported Swimming World Magazine.
- “I do not wish to participate in the Tokyo Games under the stewardship of a NOC (National Olympic Committee) that is tied to a regime that continues to inflict suffering on my people,” he said.
- In his post, he drew attention to the “indiscriminate killings” in the country and paid tribute to Ma Kyal Sin, also known as Angel, the 19-year-old Taekwondo practitioner who was killed during one of Myanmar’s bloodiest days.
- “She went out there, defended her community every day until she was struck down,” he said. “And I’m inspired by her. I’m fortunate that I can live in Australia but they’re there every day being tortured by the military.”
- He described the Myanmar Olympic Committee as a “puppet organization” for the regime and claimed that the International Olympic Committee’s acceptance of it “recognizes the legitimacy of a murderous regime.”
Other details: Last month, Win Htet Oo called out the IOC and its President Thomas Bach, asking for the organization to expel the MOC from the Olympic Movement.
- “Quite simply, this letter is about keeping genocide out of sport,” he wrote.
- The swimmer also organized a petition via Change.org, which has received more than 900 signatures as of this writing.
- Although he has already withdrawn from the Olympics, Win Htet Oo said he still follows a training program.
Featured Image via South China Morning Post