|The tradition of kickboxing (myanma let-hwei)
dates back hundreds of years. Special competitions are held during paya
pwe (local pagoda festivals). Championship matches are held in Aung
Saun Stadium in Yangon. In kickboxing, the fighters may use any part of
the body except the head to strike an opponent. Before the match, the contestants
perform certain rituals to pay homage to the Buddha. The winner repeats
these rituals at the end of the match. During the match, people play drums,
cymbals and bamboo clappers. As the match becomes more exciting, the tempo
of the instruments gets faster.
Another traditional sport is chinlon,
played with a woven rattan ball about 12 cm in diameter. Six people stand
in a ring and keep the ball aloft by hitting it with their feet, legs and
knees. In another version of the game, the players stand on either side
of a volleyball net and pass the ball back and forth using their legs and
|Many people enjoy a game called gonnyin.
They throw large fruit pits to knock a target off a pole. At country festivals,
people compete to climb a greased bamboo pole to collect a prize from the
Khe pai kauk (leg rowing) is practised by
the Inthas on Inle lake. The rower stands on one leg at the back of a flat
punt, and winds the other leg around the oar. This leaves the hands free
and allows the rower to rest his arms. Although leg rowing originated as
a working technique rather than a form of recreation, leg rowing competitions
may be held on special occasions. Soccer is a popular team sport in Myanmar.
Golf and tennis are also played in the cities by the well-to-do. In the
larger cities such as Yangon, marathons are organized in the cooler season.
Did you know?
Myanmar toys include a doll called the Thu-nge-daw, a fat jovial
character with long hair, and Shwe Zegwet, a golden owl who is supposed
to bring good luck.