Some continue to train however they can on their own while observing social-distancing rules put in place to combat the pandemic.
Among such local athletes is MMA fighter Phoe Thaw. The Myanmar Times speaks to him about what he is doing to stay in fighting shape for his next tournament once things are back to normalcy.
The Myanmar Times: Despite matches being stopped due to COVID-19, you haven’t stopped training. What are you focusing on to stay in fighting shape?
Phoe Thaw: Despite the current situation I have been working out constantly. I am focusing on gaining weight gain in particular for strength. This has to be done long before competitions because doing it too close would make me heavy and slow. The rest is regular workouts to stay in shape.
MT: Tell us about the situation with events.
PT: Right now everything is on hold and one of the major organiser of MMA events in Asia, ONE Championship, has postponed its events due to the pandemic. ONE Championship is giving me more time to train so once things are back to normal, I will be ready.
MT: What kind of problems do you face in training?
PT: Training is just more difficult now. Some gyms are closed, and some of my fellow trainees have returned to their homes in other states or regions. Now I have to train only with those who have stayed back, so I think it’s not as effective. The fewer sparring partners we have, the harder it is to work on certain aspects of our skills.
MT: How much do you weigh now and how much do you plan to gain?
PT: At the moment, my weight is just over 70 kilogrammes. I’m trying to reach 80kg, and then I will go back down to 70kg for tournaments. Gaining more weight and then reducing it makes the muscles stronger.
MT: What are your plans for when fights resume eventually?
PT: I will focus on working on my own as much as possible for now. As an MMA fighter it’s important to have the support of a team. The team has a trainer, but he’s in the US. We need enough money to go there and train. By training alone, I can’t make much progress. I need a trainer for physical conditioning so I can be ready and strong for fights.
MT: The number of COVID-19 cases is rising in Myanmar. Do you have any advice for the people on the situation?
PT: We need to be wise in this situation. We’re seeing a lot of worse situations in our neighboring countries, and even in other developed countries around the world. We need to keep informed of good news sources about the actual situation. I believe the situation in the country can be contained if we had strictly followed the instructions of the health authorities and the government. If we do not the number of cases could still rise. So, it’s important that we overcome this crisis together by adopting good hygiene and listening to official instructions.