His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah hands over the national flag to Mariam Ulat. Picture: Infofoto
His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, the president of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council (BNOC), urges national athletes to work hard to qualify for the Olympics on merit.
HRH hopes Brunei will one day be able to send athletes to the Games on merit and will not need the 'universality place' or 'unqualified quota' set by the International Olympic Council (IOC).
"We have to work hard to produce good athletes that will excel in their sports and represent the country at Olympic Games on merit and not just depend on the universality place," said HRH.
"This is our biggest challenge and we must work together to realise this dream," added the Prince.
Brunei have been allocated the 'universality place' or 'unqualified' quota at the Youth Olympic Games to be held in Singapore next month. The Sultanate will send three athletes to the Games two swimmers and a track and field athlete.
The Prince said this during a flag handing over ceremony for the upcoming 1st Youth Olympic Games (YOG) to be held from Aug 14-26 in Singapore.
HRH handed over the national flag to the chef de mission of the national contingent, Mariam Ulat, at the VIP room of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
He also pointed out that the Sultanate's participation in the Games was a major responsibility as stated in the Olympic Charter.
The Sultanate will be represented in Singapore by three athletes and two coaches plus the chef de mission.
Maziah Mahusin the only track and field athlete selected will compete in the 400 metres hurdles event.
"My performance at the ASG (2nd Asean School Games) was not that bad. I tried my best and I was aiming to break the current national record in the 400m hurdles," said Maziah, in an interview with The Brunei Times, yesterday.
"But I haven't had much rest over the past month and have been over training some time because there were a lot of competitions," added Maziah, who completed a sweep of seven gold medals at the 9th National Sports Festival (PSK) which concluded late last month.
The 17-year-old athlete was referring to the 1:06.00 mark set by Marsita Kamal Jumat. Maziah's personal best is 1:08.03.
The other two athletes will be competing in aquatics events.
Amanda Liew Jia Xin, who captured 14 gold medals to emerge the Best Female Athlete at the 9th PSK, will make a splash in both the 50m breaststroke and freestyle events while Jeremy Joint Riong will feature in both the 50m and 100m butterfly events.
Liew had previously told The Brunei Times that her aim at the YOG was to improve on her best time and also to make it into the semi-finals of her events.
For Riong, it is his first outing and he is trying to leave a positive image for the younger generation.
"This is a big honour for me to be able to represent Brunei in an international competition. What I want to do is to leave a good image and also be a role model for the younger swimmers," said the 17-year-old Riong.
"I'm hoping to be able to put up my best performance and also to improve on my best time as well," added the Katok Sixth Form Centre student.
National swim coach, Eva Wong, is not taking things lightly and has enrolled her swimmers in an intensive training camp from today till Aug 7 in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
"We're starting on Sunday. This is to prepare the swimmers for the YOG. We could have started this earlier but Amanda had to compete in the ASG," said Wong.
Also present at the flag handing ceremony was Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Paduka Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports.
Courtesy from Brunei Times