SIX athletes from karate and pencak silat are set to make an impact in the inaugural staging of the Asian Martial Arts Games in Bangkok, Thailand.
Mohammad Fadilah Hj Sanif, Mohammad Fidayi Hj Sanif and Hj Eddie Jofriani Hj Johari will represent the country in karate while Amirul Ahat, Khuzaiman Ahmad and Pg Khairul Bahri Pg Ali Omar will fly the flag for pencak silat during the August 1-9 tournament.
In a speech during the flag handing over ceremony at the VIP Room of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas yesterday, the president of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council (BNOC) said that the country's participation in the Games marks a historical moment in the development of sports in the country.
"Even though Brunei has a small population, our athletes have shown they have a strong spirit to compete with athletes from other countries that have long made their name on the international scene," said Pehin Orang Kaya Setia Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Ahmad Hj Jumat, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports who was representing His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah.
"The participation of our athletes in this event is proof that if our athletes are of good standard and have shown improved achievements in their respective sports, they will always have the chance to compete in regional and international tournaments.
"We also consider our involvement important as a sign of our support for the Olympic Council Asia (OCA) and the International Olympic Council," he added.
Their participation in Bangkok will also serve as preparation for the 25th Southeast Asian Games which will be held in Laos at the end of the year.
More than 1,000 athletes from 40 OCA member countries are competing in nine disciplines in Bangkok.
"We are not sure what to expect because it is the first time this tournament is being held, but I can assure you it will be highly competitive," said Mariam Ulat, who will act as chef de mission of the delegation during the nine-day tournament.
"I cannot promise any medals but I know our team will give their best, and they have been preparing for this event since last year," added Mariam, who is also the Acting Deputy Director of the Department of Youth and Sports.
The pencak silat exponents will leave on Wednesday while the karate athletes will follow on Aug 3.
Courtesy from Brunei Times