The sport of sailing was first introduced into Myanmar back in 1924 when a group of sailing enthusiasts formed a club which was then known as the Rangoon Sailing Club, now called the Yangon Sailing Club, on the western shores of the magnificent Inya Lake, not far from the heart of Yangon City itself. Then in 1956, the national authority Burma Yachting Federation ( BYF ), known today as the Myanmar Yachting Federation ( MYF ) was established. During that time, BYF was the first of its kind in the entire South East Asian Peninsula ( SEAP )Region, now known as the SEA Region. It was then headed by U Maung Maung Lwin, who was not only a keen sailor himself, but was also an active and dynamic member of the National Olympic Committee. Under his leadership, Myanmar sailors even ventured out to National Olympic Committee. Under his leadership, Myanmar sailors even ventured out to participate in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and in the 1960 Rome Olympics Yachting Events.
In 1961 as a milestone achievement, Yachting was included for the first time in the 2nd SEAP Games which was held in Myanmar as the host country. However, Yachting Event was included off and on during the subsequent SEAP Games depending on the wishes of the respective host countries.
By 1966, a new Executive Committee was established which was led by Commander Aung Gyi ( Myanmar Navy ) a dynamic sailor, who himself keenly participated in the 4th SEAP Games held in Bangkok in 1967. Then, in 1969 Myanmar again hosted the 5th SEAP Games where Yachting Event was again included with four classes of boats. With the introduction of systematic training methods programmes introduced prior to the 5th SEAP Games, improvements in skill as well as the momentum in competitive sailing became dramatically enhanced, with many Myanmar sailors bringing back medals and glory for their country.
Some of the key elements stipulated in the Myanmar Yachting Federation since in 1956 are:
- To promote the sailing qualities of an athlete, where priority is to be given to assist in building up the standard of sailing, until he or she can get involved in the highly intricate art of racing
- To recruit and instigate among the sport circles of the country leading to enhancement in popularity and further proliferation of the sport
- To encourage dinghy building techniques as well as production of related parts and fittings
- To co-operate with and to assist any other yachting associations domestically as well as from abroad, in order to further promote the sport of sailing number people interested in sailing, but also to enhance the competitive ability of the sailors in Myanmar and in the Region
With the aforesaid aims and objectives in mind, and with the Yangon Sailing Club serving at the backbone and breeding gorunds of future sailors, the Myanmar Yachting Federation at present will not waive in its plans to continue to conduct Regattas, Sailing Courses, Coaching Clinics along ambitious development plans not only to increase the number people interested in sailing, but also to enhance the competitive ability of the sailors in Myanmar and in the Region.
The ( 7 ) Key Questions about the Myanmar Yachting Federation (MYF)
Q1. How did the Myanmar Yachting Federation or MYF come into existence?
It was back in 1956 when the Burma Rowing & Yachting Federation was first established in Yangon, Myanmar. It was in fact the first of its kind as a national authority under the auspices of the National Olympic Committee to be established in Southeast Asia, with the goal to promote and administer these sports in the country. The founder and its first President was U Maung Maung Lwin who was a keen yachting enthusiast as well as an active member of the Myanmar National Olympic Committee. In 1966, the Executive Committee was reorganised and Captain Aung Gyi, who was then serving as Captain Naval Staff of the Myanmar Navy became President of the Federation. ln 1975, Commander Min Lwin served at the helm for two years succeeded by Commander Khin Aung (1978-1980), Commander Thein Tun (1981-1982), Captain Mya Thein (1983-1991) and Commander Thein Tun from mid 1991 until January 2005. He was succeeded by U Moe Myint, the Chief Executive of MPRL E&P Group of Companies who is also the Honorary Life Member of the Yangon Sailing Club, and who is still serving as President.
It was in 1991, during the term of U Thein Tun, that the Myanmar National Olympic Committee separated the Federation into two, namely the Myanmar Yachting Federation and the Myanmar Rowing & Canoeing Federation in order to further effectively drive progress in both sailing and rowing in the country. lt can be said that it was the birth of an independently operated Sailing Federation now known as the Myanmar Yachting Federation (MYF). At that time, the current president U Moe Myint, was the Secretary General. ln February 2005, he was appointed to take over all responsibilities as President. Since then, the Federation has enjoyed his broad patronage towards active development of the sport of sailing which include full sponsorship and support of necessary boats, modern equipment, building up the youth classes, hiring of international professional coaches, for the sport in Myanmar to become sustainable and to successfully compete internationally.
Q2. What are the objectives of MYF?
There are five key objectives of the Myanmar Yachting Federation as follows:
- To promote the sailing ability of an athlete, where priority is given to assist in building up the level of sailing, until he or she can get involved in the highly intricate art of racing, domestically as well as internationally.
- To recruit and instigate among the sporting circles in the country leading to enhancement in popularity and further proliferation of the sport.
- To encourage dinghy building techniques as well as production of related parts and fittings.
- To cooperate with and to assist any other yachting associations and clubs domestically as well as from abroad, in order to further promote the sport to the mass number of people interested in sailing, and also to enhance the competitive ability of the sailors in Myanmar and in the region.
- To compete initially in regional and continental Games successfully, and eventually to be able to compete at the world and Olympic levels.
Q3. What are its key activities?
Myanmar Yachting Federation's activities consist of promoting sailing and nurturing young generations of athletes through its all-year-round sailing clinics, which target both basic and veteran sailing enthusiasts, rental services of its sailing equipment
the most popular sailing equipment currently is the Stand-Up Paddles or SUPs. These are conducted at the two sailing clubs, one in Yangon Sailing Club (YSC) and at the Ngwe Saung Yacht Club and Resort (NSYC). lt is also responsible for developing a sustainable youth development program for a group of selected sailing athletes in order to improve their skills and gain recognition internationally.
Q4. Why is the sport important?
Sailing is the type of sport which harness wind to power the sails and propel the boat forward. Thus, the kind of boat you choose to sail is important, because, along with the conditions of wind and weather in the sea, the boat itself is something that will enhance the whole sailing experience. There are two common types of sailboats: keel boats or yachts, and dinghies. One can sail, either on a yacht which can accommodate several people, or in a dinghy which is smaller and can accommodate just one or two persons.
There are many benefits the sailing sport can bring for people, both young and old. At an individual level, one can build his character, discipline and self-confidence through the sport. The key asset about sailing is that you can learn to sail a boat on your own, from an early age children as young as six years can learn to sail in the Optimist Class Dinghy. Therefore, they can start learning about self-discipline, making the right decisions, and building self-confidence at an early age. In addition, when these youth are competing internationally, there will be able to deal with both winning and losing in equal terms. While many people are afraid of losing, they will simply accept it as part of life, and as an opportunity to learn from mistakes and make themselves better.
At a national level, the long-term goal of the Ministry of Health and Sports is to maintain the overall health of its citizens. Hence, if a country is prolific in international sports competitions, it is an indication that it is generally a healthy nation in which populations enjoy good health. ln addition, sports can, in many ways contribute towards
addressing some of the development challenges of a nation. For instance, sports have the power to draw people of any social, economic or political backgrounds into a world where the rules are universally applied. ln this way, it helps people to break down barriers and create a bond for a common goal of winning a competition for the nation.
Likewise, the energies of youth can be diverted to sporting activities to encourage their participation in nation building, instead of giving way to drugs or violence.
Therefore, sports can play a key role in the way countries are developed when it is promoted broadly through sporting communities which are systematically and strategically supported by governments.
Q5. Does MPRL E&P play a role?
MPRL E&P is the main long-term sponsor and supporter of the Myanmar Yachting Federation. ln this case, sponsorships can be understood as allocation of funds, services or resources and there are three types of sports sponsorships event sponsorship, team sponsorship and sportsmen sponsorship.
With regard to event sponsorships, MPRL E&P for instance was one of the main sponsors for the Myanmar Wave Rider Cup held in 2015, and also for the Optimist Asian & Oceanian Championships successfully held in 2018. Without major sponsors such as MPRL E&P, the MYF as the Event Organizer would not be able to achieve the success of hosting these internationally recognized major sailing events.
Sponsorships in sports are very important to both the athletes and the Federations to be able to train well and compete well. Annually, it is estimated that a total of about US$ 60 billion is spent on sports sponsorships around the world, and is increasing. Ln return, the sponsorships can promote the company's image, tax breaks and employee engagement of the sponsoring companies. Through the rigorous support and commitment from the Chief Executive U Moe Myint, the Myanmar Yachting Federation continues to remain a key provider and promoter for the wonderful sport of sailing in the country.
Q6. What are the achievements of MYF?
One of the most memorable achievements of the Myanmar Yachting Federation was at the 2001 Southeast Asian Games, or the 21st SEA Games which took place in Malaysia. The Myanmar sailing team took part in only five of the twelve classes of race categories, but won three gold and a bronze medal, the most number of gold of all nations which participated. lt was the first time that Myanmar Sailing had won the largest haul of gold medals in the SEA Games.
Another laudable achievement is qualifying consecutively in the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2014 (Nanjing, China) and again in 2018 (Buenos Aires, Argentina). Qualifying for the Olympics is no easy task for an athlete as this is the highest level global sporting event with many complex rules and standards for qualification. To qualify for the Olympics is one of the ultimate goals of our Federation.
Closer to home, during the year 2018, the Myanmar Yachting Federation has trained between 400 and 500 athletes in sailing. Many of these are children, who come from many under-privileged communities, have set their heart on becoming a national level athlete and to compete internationally. The Federation is doing everything it can to fulfil their dreams to come true. ln this regard, the two sailing clubs under its leadership, in Yangon and Ngwe Saung are serving as the breeding grounds for future national level sailors.
Q7. What are the future goals of MYF?
The Myanmar Yachting Federation aims to continuously advocate the sport of sailing in Myanmar to increase the number of people interested in it while it still remains a niche sport. At the same time, it is committed to establishing a sustainable youth development program by doubling the size of its young generation of sailors in the year 2019.
Most importantly, the 30th SEA Games will take place in December this year in the Philippines. The Myanmar Yachting Federation is hoping to win medals at the event and is preparing its contestants for the best results.
- Get in touch with the MYF at https://www.facebook.com/myanmarsailing/
Learn more about the MYF at http://www.myanmarsailing.org/en/
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