HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah (C), the President of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council, at the 2nd Round table Discussion between the BDNOC and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports yesterday. Picture: Infofoto
His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, the President of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council (BDNOC), has asked Brunei sports officials to learn from the Beijing fiasco.
HRH doesn't want history to repeat itself and yesterday reminded the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) that a contingent must be sent to the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) from Aug 14-26 in Singapore.
"The closing date (for athlete registration) is on July 15 ... and Brunei Darussalam must participate. If not, we're inviting danger with a possibility of our membership being suspended by the IOC (International Olympic Council)," said HRH.
"If it happens then it would result in Brunei not being able to compete in any competitions that are endorsed by the IOC," added HRH.
HRH was talking during the 2nd Roundtable Discussion between the BDNOC and MCYS at the Muzakarah Hall of the International Convention Centre in Berakas yesterday.
Brunei was the only National Olympic Council (NOC) among the 205 IOC members that did not send its athletes to the Beijing Olympics held from Aug 8 to 24 in 2008 and the IOC duly proposed a ban for the Sultanate.
(It is compulsory for every NOC to send athletes to the Olympics with the Olympic Charter stating that "each NOC is obliged to participate in the Games of the Olympiad by sending athletes ... and any council (which) withdraws from participating in any Olympic Games without the consent of the IOC executive board ... would end up being sanctioned or measures such as fines will be imposed").
If sanctions were imposed on the country, the BDNOC would be expelled from the IOC and would not be able to take part in any IOC- or Olympic Council Asia (OCA)-sanctioned competitions effectively plunging Bruneian athletes into a world of international sporting darkness.
Brunei quickly moved to appeal the decision sending a letter of appeal in September, 2008 pleading that the MCYS could not send an athlete (Md Yazid Yatimi Yusof) for the shot put event as he sustained injuries during a national tournament in June was accepted by the IOC saving Brunei from isolation.
"With all the effort, BDNOC managed to prevent that but the IOC had given Brunei a stern warning. That is if Brunei fails to send an athlete to the Olympic Games then membership will automatically be suspended. This is what worries me most as the YOG is also part of the Olympic Games," said HRH.
HRH also stressed that the performance of the athletes is still disappointing compared to that of the 1999 Southeast (SEA) Games which was hosted by Brunei.
"We will need to re-evaluate on how the hard work and training during that time helped us achieve the results," said HRH.
Another topic on the agenda included plans on how to improve the performances of the athletes compared to that of the 1999 Southeast (SEA) Asian Games team.
Hosted by the Sultanate, it was the country's best showing in the competition with a total medal haul of four gold, 12 silver and 31 bronze medals.
The round table discussion was the brainchild of HRH to help strengthen ties between both parties and also to exchange ideas to help improve the quality of sports in the country. The first meeting was held on November 17 last year.
Also present during the discussion were Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Paduka Hj Hazair, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Datin Hjh Adina Othman, the Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports and other representatives from various sports associations.
Courtesy from Brunei Times