Who Runs The World? (Girls) – The Story of DTM’s Soe Soe Myar

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The Dream Together Master (DTM) program is an education program focusing on global sport development. It is offered by the Global Sport Management Division at Seoul National University (SNU) and is funded by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) through the national sports promotional funds of the Korea Sports Promotion Foundation (KSPO).

Thus far, this project has resulted in many graduates who have taken leadership positions in national and international sports entities across the world.

Making Her Mark in Taekwondo

One of its successful alumnae is Soe Soe Myar of Myanmar who was part of DTM’s 4th batch. Soe Soe was a former Taekwondo national athlete with considerable success in the international scene. From 1998 to 2009, she participated in various international events such as the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games, Asian Championships, and the World Championships. 

Soe Soe Myar
Soe Soe Myar taekwondo/ Private archive

After her journey as an athlete concluded, she then became a referee for the same sport, reaching as far as International 2nd Class Kyorugi Referee, and 3rd Class Poomsae Referee. Her greatest achievements as a referee include participating at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and the 2019 World Taekwondo Championships Manchester.

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Currently, she sits as the Secretary-General of the Myanmar Taekwondo Federation as well as serving as Director of the Ministry of Health’s Institute of Sports and Physical Education in Loikaw, Kayah State, Myanmar.

Soe Soe Myar
From left, Soe Soe Myar, a 35-year-old Burmese, Hichem Ayouni, a 40-year-old Tunisian and Zoreh Abdollakhani, a 34-year-old Iranian, volunteers for the World Taekwondo Muju Championships, in the arena in Muju, North Jeolla, last month. [OH JONG-CHAN]
Through her work in her young career, Soe Soe has received various awards such as the Myanmar Sportswriters Association’s Women of the Year 2007, the Chairman of the Peace and Development Council, Union of Myanmar’s 3rd Level Social Outstanding Award in 2009, and the President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar’s honorary certificate in 2013. To cap this off, she was also a nominee of the IOC Women and Sport Awards in 2020.

A Lose-Lose Game

Soe Soe is also vying for a post in the World Taekwondo Council as a Council Member representing Asia. Let’s get inside her mind to see what she thinks about taekwondo’s future and her message to everyone given her experiences.

Soe Soe Myar
Soe Soe Myar at the RIO 2016 Olympics/ private archive

Why do you want to be a WT council member?

“As a taekwondo practitioner for about 25 years, I realize how taekwondo, I mean the manner of practicing taekwondo, is uplifting my life and career. So, I wish and I feel that I can share this with children, especially in the under-developed countries. I hope for them to be involved in taekwondo and seek a life with general well-being. Of course, WT already has many development programs.

But I think we need someone to be the voice of the children and for this voice to be heard at the top level of the association. If we listen to their voices, WT can create more comprehensive programs on sport for development. And we can prove that taekwondo is for everyone and that taekwondo can help nurture children to have a better life. So, I mentioned my vision for WT to create more opportunities for children to play taekwondo and seek a better quality of life.”

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What do you think about taekwondo’s future?

“Taekwondo is already one of the most famous sports in the world. It is my opinion, but it is based on the evidence that WT has 208 member countries. WT itself practices a good governance system. Because of its transparent scoring system, I have not seen controversial results since the 2012 London Olympic Games.

So, I strongly believe that taekwondo will remain in the Olympic programme beyond the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. The more secure taekwondo’s future is, the more social responsibility activities WT will have.”

What did DTM add to your sports career?

“I am part of the 4th batch of the Dream Together Master (DTM) program, and DTM means a lot to me. I learned many things about global sports, and it helps me in my work as I became equipped with better knowledge. However, the most important thing DTM provided me is the connection and network to the world, including sports associations, sports scholars, professors, and my beloved DTM alumni worldwide.”

What is your advice for women leaders in sports?

“In my opinion, women are facing more challenges than men in many sectors, culturally and geographically. I admire some women who are in leading roles in the sports sector. And I would like to humbly ask them to share their knowledge and ability to overcome the challenges young girls and all women sports practitioners face.”

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What was the hardest challenge you faced as a female athlete?

“The challenge that I used to face during my life as an athlete was the perception of authorities from the association and ministry that men are more capable than women, and this meant that all the opportunities were coming for male athletes first.”

Soe Soe Myar
Who Runs The World? (Girls) – Soe Soe Myar private archive photo

Writer’s Note:

I think DTM is moving with confidence to achieve the mission of promoting global sport development through educating international sports administrators and establishing a global sports network. Sports4world will continue talking about more DTM legacy stories.
Edited by Aldo Tong

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Ali Hussien
Co-founder & CEO of 3S Sports Services Sudan

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