Two national karate exponents in training during the Asian Games, in Guangzhou, China, recently. Picture: Infofoto
Plans are in the works for Brunei to send the national karate-do team to train in Iran.
With four exponents, the team were the largest represented among the four sports that the country sent to the Nov 12-27 Guangzhou Asian Games in China.
But not only did they return empty-handed, they also failed to win a single match hardly the kind of result the Department of Youth and Sports or the Brunei Karatedo Federation (Brukaf) were expecting.
One of the two exponents who saw action during the final day of the karate-do competition last Friday, Mainudin Hj Mohamad was the sole member of the quartet to have progressed to the next round of his event, the men's kumite -75kg class.
However, the only reason he advanced to the quarter-finals was because his opponent had delivered an illegal kick which knocked him out and he was unable to compete in the last-eight as a result.
In his daily report during the Games, the Brunei contingent's chef de mission Hj Muhd Zamri DP Hj Hamdani said that Mainudin needed to improve his strategy and tactics, especially in terms of psychology.
"Mental toughness is still lacking and needs to be worked on," said the Deputy Director (II) of the Department of Youth and Sports.
"In terms of technique, Mainudin needs to improve. He needs quality sparring partners that are experienced and it is proposed that he undergoes training in Iran," added the vice-president of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council (BNOC).
Iran's karate-do team finished the 16th edition of the Games with two gold and two bronze medals, third in the standings behind Japan (two gold and four silver) and Malaysia (two gold, two silver and one bronze medal).
When interviewed yesterday national karate-do coach Hj Okhida Simangasing said that training in Iran was just one of the possibilities being looked at.
"This is one of the ideas we have in our preparation for the 2011 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games to be held in Indonesia," said the trainer.
"This whole time we have only been training abroad in Indonesia. But it is better if we go to Iran or Japan, countries where the sport is at a higher level.
"Things like these are usually carried out between federation to federation, and national referee Hj Malai Jefferydean Hj Malai Mohammed, who was at the Asian Games as a referee, has already talked to his counterparts about such a stint.
"Now we are at the stage where we have to improve in terms of mental strength We will see if the trip to Iran works out or not, and if it is successful we will look at other countries.
"The SEA Games is in November, but we have to start training now," said the Indonesian.
The lack of overseas competition was also identified as a reason for the team's uninspiring results in Guangzhou, with Hj Okhida stating that the Sultanate was lagging behind in terms of competition experience.
"Most of the other teams in the Asian Games had already been to many tournaments this year before Guangzhou up to seven," he said.
"We only competed in one, the Indonesian Open (in Bali from Sept 24-26). Countries like Vietnam have gone to Europe where they have leagues ... But as you know, that is all dependent on budget.
"From what I have seen at the Asian Games, South Korea have really made a lot of progress and that is because their exponents have a lot of exposure," added Hj Okhida.
Brunei were also represented by two athletes in wushu and one each in equestrian and fencing in Guangzhou, but all failed to secure a podium finish.
The decision to train in Iran comes less than a week after Brunei and Laos signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on sports, with the view of exchanging coaching expertise and information between the two Asean neighbours. The MoU also agreed to work on the exchange of sports officials and specialists, among others.
Courtesy from Brunei Times