Brunei's preparation for next month's Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, was put to the sword by Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council (BNOC) president His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah yesterday.
Entries for nine athletes from five sports karate, wushu, fencing, cue sports and equestrian have been submitted to the Guangzhou Asian Games Organising Committee (Gagoc) for the Nov 12-27 event in the Chinese metropolis.
It is expected that four exponents will represent Brunei in karate, two in wushu and one each in the other sports.
The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports' national selection and evaluation committee as well as the national coaches of the respective sports were quizzed on the readiness of the five teams to take to the field for the 16th edition of the Games by the president of the national body during a two-and-a half hour long meeting at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas yesterday.
It was the second such meeting in the space of a month after one on Sept 22 to check on the readiness of the lawn bowls team that were to compete at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
In addition to enquiring about the athletes' training schedule and any recent competitions they might have had, His Royal Highness also wanted to know how prepared the ministry was to send the contingent 20 is the tentative number to the Games.
National karate coach Hj Okhida Simangasing revealed that the four exponents competed in last month's Indonesian Open in Bali (from Sept 24-26), returning with two bronze medals.
The Indonesian also presented a dossier to His Royal Highness on the event and his side's preparation for the Asian Games which has been going on since April 1.
Training for Guangzhou since last year, the fencing team were in Melbourne, Australia, from Sept 27 to Oct 3 for the Commonwealth Fencing Championship.
National fencing coach Rocky Poerawinata said that Brunei's sole entry failed to finish with a medal, which the Indonesian attributed to nerves.
Dr Hj Danish Zaheer, Head of the Sports Medicine and Research Centre (SMRC) at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas which is under the ministry also told the meeting that athletes from fencing and karatedo did their fitness tests on Oct 9.
Though the results had been submitted to the ministry, the BNOC has yet to get hold of them after a week's delay.
Doping tests for athletes in the two sports were done last week and Dr Hj Danish said he was hoping to get the results back from a lab in Thailand next week.
The committee might select athletes to any international tournament the country competes in but it is up to the BNOC to endorse them, explaining for His Royal Highness' insistence that the council receive results of any future tests earlier.
The wushu exponents have not done any tests yet since the national team are currently in Wudang, China, for the 4th World Traditional Wushu Championships.
Equestrian's lack of representation at the meeting was interesting in itself, with Dr Hj Danish also saying that he has yet to receive any information about fitness tests for the athlete.
Wushu was also not represented during the meeting.
Cue sports was represented by national coach Lim Tat Hwe, who presented the schedule of events for the 8-ball singles and 9-ball singles.
At the end of the meeting His Royal Highness said he was impressed with the daily reports prepared by the Brunei secretariats for the contingent at the Commonwealth Games, saying that he hopes it will be a feature in regional and international competitions to come.
He also stressed for more teamwork within the ministry and urged it always to take the athletes' concerns into heart.
When asked what medal target the ministry had for the Asian Games, His Royal Highness was pleased with the response he got when he heard that the athletes would only be expected to try their best.
"That's all that we can ask for. We should try our best, give a challenge and don't back down," said the Prince.
"The important thing is there must be commitment. The athletes have to be focused and mentally ready.
"Go into it thinking you are going to win a medal. It doesn't matter what colour; though gold is always better. What is important is that Brunei's flag flies," added the HRH.
Courtesy from Brunei Times