Win Htet Oo, one of the top swimmers from the nation of Myanmar, won’t compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after protesting against a coup perpetrated by the country’s military.
Win Htet Oo has called for the country’s National Olympic Committee to be disallowed from participating in the Olympic Movement due to the violence, being quoted as saying “genocidaires do not deserve to be in the Olympics.”
In a Facebook post on Saturday, Win Htet Oo explained that he was rejected by the Myanmar Olympic Committee (MOC) after expressing his desire to join the Civil Disobedience Movement in Myanmar. He adds that he thinks the MOC shouldn’t be recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) “as they have failed to protect the Olympic Movement in Myanmar as they continue to operate in cahoots with a military regime that stands accused of crimes against humanity.”
His rejection of the MOC essentially rules out his chances of competing at the Games. The 26-year-old freestyle specialist is currently training in Melbourne, Australia.
A coup began in Myanmar on February 1 when democratically elected members of the country’s ruling party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), were overthrown by the Tatmadaw – Myanmar’s military. Myanmar armed forces commander in chief Gen. Min Aung Hlaing seized power, and in addition to overthrowing the NLD, also installed a military junta (a government controlled by military leaders).
Win Htet Oo goes on to say that the National Unity Government is “the only legitimate representative of the people of Myanmar” and that all international organizations and governments should recognize it as Myanmar’s official government.
Win Htet Oo says he hopes to institute an international boycott of the Myanmar Olympic Committee.
“I call upon the IOC to immediately investigate the MOC and search for grounds for immediate expulsion from the Olympic Movement,” he said.
Win Htet Oo has represented Myanmar at both the 2013 and 2019 Southeast Asian Games, and holds the country’s National Records in the men’s 50, 100 and 200 freestyle in long course meters and the 50 and 100 free in short course meters.
Most recently, he competed at the Australian Championships on the Gold Coast in mid-April, placing 37th in the 50 free (23.58) and 36th in the 100 free (51.31). His National Records in those events (LCM) stands at 22.62 and 50.18, respectively.