Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 7th 2015 Contents A48
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, September 7, 2015
led an American 1-2 in the
women s 100-metre hurdles and
compatriot Candyce McGrone
claimed victory in the 100 sprint
at the ISTAF athletics meet yes-
Harper-Nelson, the 2008
Olympic champion, was keen to
bounce back after clattering into
a hurdle and falling in her semifinal
at the world championships in Bei-
jing. She clocked 12.82 to edge
Sharika Nelvis by two hundredths
of a second. European champion
Tiffany Porter of Britain was third
at the IAAF Word Challenge meet.
"It was very difficult for me to
recover after Beijing and my fall.
I felt physically OK but mentally
it was tough," Harper-Nelson said.
"I prayed a lot and it seemed to
help. You know, I love hurdles and
always want to show the best of
McGrone won the sprint in 11.11,
beating Marie-Josee Ta Lou of
Ivory Coast by one tenth of a sec-
ond and fellow American Barbara
Pierre by two tenths.
"It s my first victory this season,
very precious," said McGrone, who
hoped it would give her a "positive
kick" for "the upcoming season
when I want to fight for the spot
in the Olympic team."
Jeneba Tarmoh of the US was
fourth, while Michelle-Lee Ahye
of Trinidad and Tobago hobbled
over the line after pulling up with
Kim Collins of Saint Kitts and
Nevis won the men s 100 in 10.13,
edging American Isiah Young by
four hundredths of a second.
"I really needed this to boost
my self-confidence after what
happened in China," said Collins,
the 2003 world champion, who
failed to emerge from his heat at
the Worlds. "My body and soul
needed to recover from it."
Andrew Riley of Jamaica cele-
brated his 27th birthday by winning
the 110 hurdles in 13.40, ahead of
Shane Brathwaite of Barbados.
Nijel Amos of Botswana defeated
world silver medalist Adam Kszczot
of Poland in the men s 800, and
Paul Kipsiele Koech of Kenya edged
Americans Hassan Mead and
Bernard Lagat to win the men s
Virginia Nyambura Nganga of
Kenya ran a world leading 6:02.16
in the women s 2000 steeplechase,
ahead of compatriot Beatrice
Chepkoech, while Gesa Felicitas
Krause delighted the home fans
with a German record of 6:04.20.
Lynsey Sharp of Britain ran a
personal best of 1:57.71 to beat Ger-
man champion Fabienne
Kohlmann and world champion
Marina Arzamasova in the
women s 800.
"I train in such weather so I
liked it," Sharp said of the cold and
Israel s Marharyta Dorozhon beat
German world champion Katha-
rina Molitor to win the women s
javelin, but there were no issues
for Christina Schwanitz in the shot
put. The German world champion
threw 19.66 meters to beat Amer-
icans Michelle Carter and Tia
Brooks, who threw 19.19 and 18.31,
Germany s Katrin Klaas took
advantage of world record-holder
Anita Wlodarczyk s late withdrawal
to win the women s hammer with
a throw of 72.09. Amber Campbell
of the U.S. was second with 70.94.
Tom Walsh of New Zealand beat
David Storl of Germany to win the
men s shot put with a throw of
20.71, and Poland s Piotr Lisek won
an exciting pole vault by soaring
World record holder Renaud
Lavillenie failed to make a height,
failing twice at 5.54 and once at
World champion Piotr Mala-
chowski won the discus ahead of
Germany s Christoph Harting and
Polish compatriot Robert Urbanek,
while Serbia s Ivana Spanovic won
the women s long jump.
YANGON---A group of strongly
built young men gathers early in
the morning in the suburbs of
Yangon to work on their fighting
skills. Some of them jump on
cast-off tires to warm up. Others
stretch or punch the air.
All of them pause and make way
when a rickshaw comes by, because
their gym is the street.
The men are members of Yan-
gon s White New Blood lethwei
fighters club. Most come from rural
areas of Myanmar, get fed by their
coach and sleep in a nearby Bud-
dhist monastery during their stay
in Yangon preparing for fights.
Myint Zaw started the traditional
fighter s club 15 years ago, after he
retired from the sport.
The club is situated on the road
in front of his house in a Yangon
neighborhood of improvised tin
and wooden structures. Most of
the equipment is improvised as
well, including weights strapped
to a wooden bar. A tree wrapped
with old tires serves as a punching
bag, though now the gym has a
real one as well.
A local businessman helped put
a roof above the section of the road
they use as a gym so they can prac-
tice even during Myanmar s unfor-
giving monsoon season. Neighbors
share the shelter for community
events such as alms offering to
Myanmar has a rich heritage of
martial arts that is believed to go
back more than 2,000 years. Today,
matches are held at festivals around
the country and are popular with
every strata of society.
Lethwei is a particularly rough
form of kickboxing: There are no
gloves, head-butts are allowed and
until relatively recently, fights sim-
ply continued until one competitor
was knocked out. Now there are
Three of Zaw s fighters competed
this summer on a stage a world
away from the street gym: a mixed-
martial-arts "One Championship"
event broadcast globally on cable
television networks. It was held in
Thuwanna National Indoor Stadi-
um in Yangon, which is the coun-
try s pre-eminent indoor sports
facility, though it still lacks air con-
According to Zaw, fighters
received $1,000 for each fight, with
20 percent going to the coach for
providing training and food.
Ordinarily, fighters win much
less money, but still make more
than Zaw did in the days when
Myanmar s junta-led government
was isolated from the world and
international broadcasts were
impossible. Back then, a fight
would earn him just 25 US cents.
Dawna Aung, a lightweight-class
fighter and 34-year-old father of
two, hopes competing will help
him change his family s life. The
ethnic Karen lives in a rural village
in Myanmar s Irrawaddy Delta
region, and his family runs a small
dried fish business.
"The reason, I join this MMA
tournament is mainly for the
money. My family will be OK if I
can make a lot of money from that.
And secondly, I really would like
to show to the world what Leithwei
is," Aung said.
He wants to fight another three
or four years, become a champion
and earn enough money along the
way to expand the family business.
Aung lost his One Championship
bout, as did Hlit Hlit Lay, fighting
in featherweight category.
The only White New Blood
fighter to get a win was Phoe Thaw,
a security guard at the Japanese
Embassy in Yangon who was also
battered but scored a victory
because his opponent suffered a
cut so bloody that the judge
stopped the fight.
A few days after, Hlit Hlit Lay
said he was heading back to his
village. He planned to eventually
return to Yangon to prepare for
another fight, but need to heal his
Myanmar athletes train amid traffic
cruise in Berlin
United States' Candyce McGrone, right, and Switzerland's Mujinga Kambundji
hug after competing in the round one of the women's 200m at the World
Athletics Championships at the Bird's Nest stadium last month. AP PHOTO
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