AFTER winning a bronze medal at the 3rd Asian Indoor Games in Vietnam last month, the Brunei wushu team are aiming for a gold medal in the 25th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games which will be hosted by Laos.
This is the first time that Brunei are competing in wushu but they are optimistic knowing that they are fully prepared for the tough challenge ahead.
With less than two weeks to the December 9- 18 biennial event, the wushu team are undergoing intensive training at the Multipurpose Hall of the Menglait Sports Complex in preparations for the competition.
"Im confident that we can win the gold. We will just have to give it our best shot and put in all the effort needed to win the medal," said national coach Li Hui from China in an interview with The Brunei Times.
"However it's difficult to perform all the moves that we want without the proper carpet for the sport. I would be more confident if we had it," added Li.
Li pointed out that some of the movements that they were training on couldnt be done to the full extent due to the fear of injury to his athletes.
Upon the recommendation of the Brunei Wushu Federation and Li, the Department of Youth and Sports sent five athletes to China in September to take part in a one-month training programme in Chong Qin.
Li compared his training sessions in the Sultanate to the one-month training programme in China saying there were better facilities there.
"It was good to train there (China) for a month. The problem here is that we haven't got the standard tournament carpet unlike the one which we used while we were training in China," said Li.
"There is a very big difference as the athletes are more likely to suffer from injury as it limits the movement. Regardless of that we still have to train since the competition is coming up soon," added Li.
The 36-year-old coach also mentioned that the Asian Indoor Games was a good way for exposure and experience for the exponents before they compete in the SEA Games.
The duo of Faustina Woo Wai Sii and Lee Ying Shi, who won the bronze at the 3rd Asian Indoor Games, will be competing in the double sword and spear (Dui Lian) event.
Twins Isa and Ismi Bismi will participate in the double sword and spear (Dui Lian) event and Southern cudgel event.
Harris Adli Perancis has been entered in the Southern Fist (Nanquan) and Southern Staff (Nangun) events.
Woo and Lee were the youngest competitors when they competed in their event (women's single weapon vs weapon) that won them the bronze in Vietnam last month. But they are ready once again to face older opponents.
"We are prepared but we are suffering due to the carpet. This is causing us to sustain some injuries from training. In addition, we are not able to perform many of the jumping movements as wanted, said the 17-year-old Woo.
"We have the confidence that we can win just like what the coach expects from us which is to win the gold medal at the Games," added Woo.
Like her partner, the 15-year-old Lee is also ready after weeks of intensive training.
"We've gone up against those from other countries who are in their 20s. There is no pressure for us and we are ready face them," said Lee.
Brunei won one gold, one silver and four bronze medals during the 2007 SEA Games in Thailand. In 1999, the Sultanate pocketed four golds, 12 silvers and 31 bronze medals when it hosted the tournament for the first time.
Courtesy from Brunei Times