Most 10-year-olds dream up fantasies for their birthday wishes. But not Oo Shun Lei Maw, the determined and grounded swimmer from Myanmar. "Nothing," she says firmly. "I don't have anything I want for my birthday."
Though Lei Maw turns 11 on June 9, her focus remains on the competition. "They are so fast and I am the slowest one!" she pips. "I want to be better than the slowest one."
Even though she admits to feeling scared, her fears have since appeared to be allayed. "No, it's not overwhelming. I am used to it." She finished her heat in the 100m Freestyle event with a time of 1:06.56, placing 13th out of 14 swimmers.
This is an improvement from her previous heats, where she placed last in the heats for the 200m Individual Medley.
Age is clearly no hindrance for the youngest swimmer in the pool at the 28th SEA Games. In fact, Lei Maw made the trip to Singapore without her parents - a journey that would surely be daunting for others her age. This is not her first trip to Singapore for swim meets. In March earlier this year, she participated in the Singapura Finance SNAG Swim Junior Championships, showing her potential as she placed first in numerous events within her age category.
Having been swimming since she was seven, Lei Maw's training regime typically starts at 6am, stopping at 9am. for school, before returning to the pool from 4pm to 6.30pm. It all started when her father opened a swimming pool in Myanmar and she participated in some of the classes held there.
But make no mistake - despite her commitment to swimming and maturity, Lei Maw is still very much like any other 10-year-old. "I like to watch TV, play games, read books and listen to music!" she grins. Despite what one would assume, her favourite subject in school is maths, not physical education.
"It's too tiring!" Lei Maw pouts. "I can't do the training very well."
We wish Lei Maw all the best in her future endeavours and a very happy birthday!
This author of this article is a volunteer content producer with Team Nila. For more content produced by Team Nila, please head to the 28th SEA Games Social Wall.
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