President of the Brunei Darussalam
National Olympic Council His Royal
Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah
(R), accompanied by Minister of
Culture,Youth and Sports Pehin
Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja
Dato Paduka Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah
(L), during the 2nd Roundtable
Discussion between the BNOC and
the ministry. Picture: Infofoto
Brunei is one step closer to competing in next month's Youth Olympic Games.
With the deadline for the August 14-26 meet in Singapore only four days away, the country can breathe a little easier after the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council (BNOC) exclusively revealed to The Brunei Times yesterday that it has submitted the names of three athletes on Thursday.
The Sultanate had been warned that it might be suspended by the IOC (International Olympic Council) if it fails to register any athletes by Thursday (July 15), so BNOC's announcement couldn't have come at a better time.
"BNOC wishes to inform that (it has) has submitted three athletes to the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Organising Committee for them to participate in the upcoming YOG in Singapore, as the deadline of 15 July is approaching very fast," said the council in a Press release yesterday.
"This is to make sure that the names of the athletes are registered in time, before the registration is closed," it added.
The names of the three athletes were not disclosed, and BNOC is not in the position to do so either because ultimately, the decision to send the athletes - or to select them - is not in their hands.
"The three athletes were nominated by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, have been selected after going through various selection process and have met the requirements set by the National Selection Committee," continued the Press release.
"The participation of the three athletes however is still pending on the final approval from Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports of Brunei Darussalam," it added.
The committee that BNOC was referring to is the national selection and evaluation committee, the body which decides which athletes represent Brunei in any contingent the country sends to regional and international tournaments based on input from various sources.
The Press release was in reaction to an article published in yesterday's edition of The Brunei Times which said that IOC would get involved in making sure Bruneian athletes will be at the YOG.
As reported on Olympics coverage website Around the Rings, a spokesman said IOC is trying to help BNOC meet next week's deadline to name a team for the YOG.
However, the IOC official was unable able to provide more details on what exactly the international body is doing to help.
A BNOC official said that it was uncertain whether IOC would send a representative to Brunei but didn't rule the possibility out.
The country's compulsory participation in the Games was brought to light when BNOC president His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah warned of the consequence of Brunei's non-involvement in the YOG.
"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," said HRH.
Brunei is in the IOC spotlight because it was the only National Olympic Council (NOC) out of its 205 members that did not send athletes to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which led to the IOC duly proposing 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, BNOC would be expelled from the IOC and would not be able to take part in any IOC or Olympic Council Asia sanctioned competitions.
Brunei successfully appealed the decision after the Olympics, pleading that the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports could not send an athlete (Md Yazid Yatimi Yusof) for the shot put event as he sustained injuries during a national tournament in June 2008.
All was quiet on the home front until last month when Brunei was in the headlines again for not sending female athletes to the Olympics.
The head of IOC's international committee's women and sports commission Anita DeFrantz said that Brunei is one of only three countries - with Saudi Arabia and Qatar - that have never sent female athletes to the world's biggest multi-sport event.
Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Datin Hjh Adina Othman responded by saying that women would be selected for London 2012 if they reached the qualifying standards.
Since 1988, Brunei has sent only one athlete to Atlanta in 1996 and one to Athens in 2004. But unlike in the Chinese capital two years ago, all signs point towards Brunei's flag flying high in Singapore.
Courtesy from Brunei Times