THE Brunei contingent departed the Brunei International Airport yesterday to compete in the 3rd Asian Indoor Games in Vietnam to be held from Oct 30 to Nov 8.
The Sultanate will be represented by 13 athletes competing in three sports: one for billiards, 10 for pencak silat and two for wushu.
Wushu is a surprise inclusion in the list after initial reports by the Department of Youth and Sports stated that the country would only compete in billiards and pencak silat at the Games.
Mariam Ulat, Brunei's chef de mission for the Hanoi Games, said that she did not expect the athletes to win any medals at the 10-day event since the level of competition was very high.
"The athletes will try their best and we're hoping that they can improve on their personal bests. This is also a good chance for them to gain experience and prepare for future competitions," said Mariam during an interview at the airport yesterday.
Meanwhile, Suhartono, the national silat coach, said that his athletes were ready for the competition but expected a tough challenge from other participating countries.
"The athletes are in good form after their training stint in Indonesia earlier this month. They are very fit and have the skills to challenge their opponents ... I hope they can perform during the Games," said Suhartono.
"To do this they have to be mentally strong. This is a good chance for them to gain experience," added the Indonesian coach.
This is Brunei's first appearance at the Asian Indoor Games, but Suhartono is hoping that they can win some medals.
"This may be the first time that we are participating (in the competition), but I'm hoping that we can win something because I know that they (the national silat exponents) have the potential," commented the ex-Vietnam national coach.
The national coach is also using this opportunity to prepare his athletes for the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Laos which will be held in December.
The silat team are banking on the 2007 SEA Games silver medallist Norleyermah Hj Raya, who will compete in the triple event with her sister Norleyharyanti and Nurul Aimi Amalina Zanidi, to deliver again in Hanoi. Brunei's other female pencak silat exponent, Siti Zuliza Omar, will take part in the tanding event.
Hj Md Khairul Bahrin Hj Duraman will compete in the solo event while Freddy Ashrul Choo, Khuzaiman Ahmad, Mohamad Amali Hj Abd Malik, Mohd Kifli Hamzah and Pg Khairul Bahri Pg Ali Umar will participate in the tanding event.
His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, is the Sultanate's only representative in billiards.
The duo of Faustina Woo Wai Sii and Lee Ying Shi, who will be competing in the wushu events, are only expected to leave the country on Oct 29.
Present to see the national contingent off was Dato Paduka Hj Jemat Hj Ampal, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.
Courtesy from Brunei Times