Rangoon: A three-day competition of Arakanese traditional Kyon, or wrestling, was held from 27 to 29 January at Thinphyu Boxing Ground in Rangoon’s Mingalar Taung Nyaunt Township.
The competition was said to be organized jointly by the Ministry of Rakhine National Race Affairs in Rangoon Division and the Association of Rakhine Literature and Culture based in Rangoon, with the aim of saving the traditional sport from gradual decline and to attract younger Arakanese to the sport.
“Our Arakanese traditional Kyon that has been played for a thousand years is now beginning to disappear. In our youth, we thought a boy was not a boy if he did not know how to play Kyon. Every evening we played Kyon to keep our body fit and strong and we kept ourselves away from smoking and drinking as well because we were taking regular exercise with the sport. But nowadays we find our younger generations have very low interest in playing Kyon or other sports. We held this competition to preserve our long valued traditional Kyon from disappearing as well as to encourage our young generation’s interest in doing sports,” said U Zaw Aye Maung, Minister of Rakhine Affairs.
He said the competition was the third ever held in Rangoon with participation of 260 contestants, including other ethnic peoples such as Kachin, Kayah, Karen, Chin, Burman, and Mon, and was more grand and pleasurable compared to the ones held in 2003 and 2004.
The competition was separated into two levels – the level of gold gong and the level of silver gong. The first prize for the gold level is a gold medal and 15 lakh Kyat in cash, and the first prize for the silver level is a silver medal and 10 lakh Kyat in cash.
Ko Htay Min Soe, an Arakanese student in his final year of a B.Ed degree, won the first prize while Ko Win Kyi won the second prize, Ko Myint Soe won third, and Ko Zay Lin Aung of Myanmar Judo League won fourth prize in the gold level competition.
In the silver level competition, Ko Kyaw Swe won first prize, and Ko Nyi Nay Min won second prize. Both are from Kyauktaw and Kyaukpru Townships in Arakan State.
The prize of referee’s choice was given to Ko Myint Soe from Kyauktaw Township as well.
“We are very pleased with the competition of Kyon held this year in Rangoon because not only Arakanese youth but also our brethren ethnic youths, including boxers and judoka, have contested in the competition. On all three days the stadium was also filled with so many Arakanese youth and other spectators and there are now people who are interested in opening Kyon clubs in Rangoon after observing the competition,” said U Zaw Aye Maung.
Kyon, traditional Arakanese wrestling, was the most popular sport held by ancient kings in Arakan. The term “Kyon” derives from the combination of two Arakanese words, “Kyar” and “Yon”, which mean “Tiger” and “Quick” in English. So, Kyon means “Quick Tiger”, and wrestlers play to catch and bring each other to the ground to win like a quick tiger.
U Zaw Aye Maung said they are now systematically preparing the rules and methods of Kyon in consultation with the Myanmar Judo League in order to propose inclusion of their traditional sport in the SEA Games that will be held in 2013 in Burma.