Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Paduka Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah (R) wishing all the best to the Brunei Darussalam contingent at the Brunei International Airport yesterday before its departure to compete at the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China. Picture: BT/Yusri Adanan
Brunei are aiming for their best finish ever with experienced line up of athletes at the 16th Asian Games to be held in Guangzhou, China, from November 12-27.
Athletes brimming with excitment yesterday departed from the Brunei International Airport for the challenge waits them.
Led by chef-de-mission Hj Muhd Zamri Dato Paduka Hj Hamdani, nine athletes familiar with the pressure of international tournaments will take on the best that Asia has to offer.
His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, will be the country's sole representative in cue sports. Having represented the Sultanate in the cue sports at various international events, including the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Laos in 2009, the Crown Prince will compete in both the 8-Ball singles and 9-Ball singles events on November 13 and 16 respectively.
The young but prolific wushu duo of Faustina Woo Wai Sii and Lee Ying Shi will also make their debut at the Games. The 16-year-old Lee will take part in the Long Fist (Changquan) event while 18-year-old Woo will compete in both the Southern Fist (Nanquan) and Southern Broad Sword (Nandao) events.
If their recent performance at the 4th World Traditional Wushu Championship last month serves as an indication, the duo are the Sultanate's best bet to return with medals. Woo bagged three medals in the outing; a gold in Nandao, silver in Nanquan and Duo Sparring with Broadsword and Spear (Duilian) with partner Lee.
However karatedo SEA Games medallists Mainudin Hj Mohamad (kumite -75 kilogrammes), Mohammad Jamil Hj Abd Hamid (kumite -84kg) and Mohammad Fadillah Hj Sanif (kumite -67kg) will not let their younger compatriots outshine them.
Mainudin won bronze in the men's kumite -84kg in Laos last year, Md Jamil finished third in the men's kumite +84kg while Mohammad Fadillah claimed bronze in the men's -67kg event and also a silver at the 1999 SEA Games held in the Sultanate.
The trio will be joined by Mohammad Fadillah's younger brother, Muhammad Fida'iy Hj Sanif, who competed in the men's kumite -60kg in Laos but failed to collect a medal. In preparation for the Games, the karatedo exponents competed in the Indonesian Open last month, in which they bagged two bronze medals.
Meanwhile Brunei will also make their debut in two sports in the 16th edition of the Games, Mohammad Yunos Hj Hamid for fencing and Pg Mohd Nasir Pg Anak Jaafar for equestrian.
Set to compete in the sabre individual event, the 26-year-old recently competed at the Commonwealth Fencing Open Championships. Held every four years, Mohammad Yunos managed to move into the third round in the tournament contested in the knockout format in Melbourne, Australia, last month.
Pg Mohd Nasir, who had been training in Belgium for the Games, will compete in the show jumping individual discipline. The 2009 Merdeka Team Cup champion burst onto the regional scene three years ago when he became the first Bruneian to compete in the 2007 SEA Games in Korat, Thailand.
The nine athletes will shoulder the responsibility to overshadow the Sultanate's best finish, which was during the 12th edition of the Games in Hiroshima, Japan. Karatedo exponents Dk Marliza Pg Omar (kumite -53kg) and Megan Lo (kumite -60kg) each grabbed a bronze medal in their respective events in 1994.
Present yesterday to bid the contingent well was Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Paduka Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah.
Courtesy from Brunei Times