PENCAK silat bagged three bronze medals yesterday to give Brunei something to celebrate at the 25th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games here.
The Sultanate, who already got one gold and one silver, now have a total of eight bronze medals, four more than they got two years ago in Korat, Thailand.
Chef de mission Hj Muhd Zamri Dato Paduka Hj Hamdani described the delegation's achievement as a big success.
"I can say that getting eight bronze medals is a big success because we are able to surpass our medal output in the last SEA Games in Thailand," said Hj Muhd Zamri.
He said that compared to the 2007 SEA Games where Brunei were represented by 59 athletes, this year's delegation only had 28 athletes.
"Only those who have the potential to win medals are included in the delegation. We only have 28 athletes here but we won more medals," he added.
The silat exponents who pocketed the bronze medals yesterday were Amirul Ahat, Freddy Ashrul Choo and Khuzaiman Ahmad.
Amirul, silver medallist at the 2008 Asian Beach Games and 2009 Asian Martial Arts Championships, bowed to Okhe Botsavang of Laos 0-5 in the men's Class A 45kg-50kg semi-finals.
Freddy, only on his second year with the national team, lost to Singapore's Muhamad Shakir Juanda 1-4 in the men's Class G 75kg-80kg class semi-finals. Muhamad Shakir won silver at the 2009 Asian Indoor Games in Vietnam.
"I'm lucky to win the bronze medal," said the 23-year-old Freddy, who also took the bronze at the Asian Indoor Games and Terangganu Invitationals this year.
Khuzaiman, who lost to Thailand's Chaiwat Nimma 0-5 in the semi-finals of the men's Class D 60kg-65kg on Monday, was already assured of the bronze but his medal was only included in the official medals table last night.
Indonesian coach Suhartono, who is training the Brunei silat team, congratulated his athletes.
"I commend everyone in the team for giving their best in this tournament. I'm proud of them and hopefully, they can bring more honour to Brunei," said Suhartono, who has handled the national teams in Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand.
Aside from the three bronze medals, pencak silat also won Brunei's first gold courtesy of Hj Md Khairul Bahrin Hj Duraman in the men's tunggal event on Sunday.
Meanwhile, His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, and Teo Chee Soon failed to hurdle their matches in the nine-ball singles preliminary round at the Don Chan Palace Convention Hall.
The Crown Prince lost to Phonpadid Vongsombun of Laos 6-9 while Tee fell to Dennis Orcollo of the Philippines 5-9.
Brunei are eyeing two more medals today from athletics and wushu.
Md Yazid Yatimi Yusof sees action in the men's discus throw at the National Sports Complex's Main Stadium while wushu exponent Harris Adli Peranchis competes in the men's Nangun (Southern Staff) at the Lao ITECC Hall 2.
Md Yazid is bidding to improve on his bronze finish at the 2008 Korat SEA Games where he registered 41.82 metres.
"I'm hoping to improve not only my medal finish in Korat but also to set a new national record," said the Md Yazid, who is aiming to break the national record of 43.67m established by Pg Azizul.
"I don't think that my knee injury will affect my performance in discus throw so I'm optimistic," added Mh Yazid, who finished fifth among seven entries in the shot put event on Saturday.
Harris, a first-timer at the SEA Games, scored 9.10 points and finished seventh among 10 entries in Nanquan (Southern Fist) yesterday.
Vietnam's Pham placed first with 9.70 points followed by Indonesia's Heriyanto (9.65) and Myanmar's Soe Kyaw (9.62).
"If I can get a higher score in Nangun, I have a chance to win a medal," said Harris, who won gold in the three-section cudgel and a silver in Nanquan at the 3rd World Traditional Wushu Championships in China last year.
Brunei are also starting their campaign in sepak takraw today against Cambodia at the Lao ITECC Hall 1.
Competing in the men's doubles event are Ismail Ang, Mohd Shukri Hainen and Nur Alimin Sunggoh.
"I think that we have a 60-70 per cent chance of winning against Cambodia," said national coach Ittiphol Komchaisak, a native of Chiang Mai in Thailand.
After Cambodia, Brunei will have to deal with Myanmar tomorrow morning before facing the Philippines in the afternoon.
Today's matches pit Indonesia against Vietnam and Malaysia against Laos.
"Myanmar are a strong team, they have good players and they have better techniques," added Ittiphol, who represented Thailand in the SEA Games and Asian Games before retiring in 1994. He started coaching Brunei's national team in 2001.
"Our target is to reach the semi-finals," said the 42-year-old Ittiphol. "The Philippines are also good so it will be tough making it to the semi-final round.
Courtesy from Brunei Times