Meet the Match
A Taekwondo Star on a Mission for Myanmar's Youth
Soe Soe Myar is deputy director of sport and physical education for Burma’s (Myanmar’s) Ministry of Health and Sports. A global taekwondo instructor, official, and former World Junior Champion, she received the 2007 Woman of the Year Award from the Myanmar Sports Writer Association for her work as a volunteer encouraging youth sports participation. She seeks to use her platform to develop sports programs for rural youth and seniors.
Growing up in Loikaw, Soe Soe found taekwondo by accident. During summer vacation when she was 11 years old, her mother sent her and her sister to sign up for basketball at the local sports hall. Once she arrived and saw other girls her age practicing martial arts, she signed up for taekwondo instead. It worked out well for Soe Soe, who won several international medals, including gold at world juniors in 1998, gold at the 1999 Asian Taekwondo Tournament, and two silvers (2003, 2005) and one gold medal (2007) at the Southeast Asian Games.
When Burma was announced as host of the 2013 Southeast Asian Games, Soe Soe knew she wanted to be involved. She was hired at the Ministry of Sports, where initially served as a sport organizer. In 2015, Soe Soe was assigned to the planning and statistics section, where she monitors projects such as stadium and sports hall building and maintenance.
Outside of the ministry, Soe Soe has developed an extensive national taekwondo program focused in rural communities, such as Loikaw, Bawlakhe, Shadaw, and Hpasawng. She develops curriculum, which she provides to junior trainers in these communities who then work with between 250 to 300 youth in weekly training sessions. The program has developed athletes who have competed and won medals at the international level for Burma. Soe Soe’s immersive role in the world of taekwondo earned her a place as a technical official at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
By participating in the GSMP, Soe Soe has improved her leadership, fundraising, and sports management skills in order to ensure the sustainability of her national taekwondo program. She is also developing a healthy-aging program for adults and seniors in Burma.
Soe Soe earned a B.A. in Economics from the Yangon University of Distance Education, an international relations diploma from the Yangon University, and a M.S. in Global Sport Management from Seoul National University. In her free time, she enjoys jogging, visiting pagodas, and watching extreme sports.