BNOC President His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah (C) holding on to his son YAM Pg Muda Abdul Aleem Bolkiah during the warming up session. Picture: BT/Chua Guan Cheong
The Belait District welcomed its first ever Olympic Day Celebration yesterday with a morning run that attracted almost 2,000 participants to the Waterfront Park in Kuala Belait.
The event, organised annually by the Brunei Darussalam National Olympics Council (BNOC) in cooperation with the Youth and Sports Department, is to commemorate the birth of the modern Olympics on 23 June 1894 in Paris.
In his statement in the programme booklet, BNOC President His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah stated that by bringing the Olympic Day Run to Belait, they hoped to spread the spirit of Olympism to the communities in other districts.
Speaking before the race, British High Commissioner Rob Fenn noted that when Olympic Day Run was first conducted back in 1987, only 45 countries participated then, compared to the current figure of 161 countries.
He then added that he is looking forward to seeing the Brunei Darussalam contingent participating in the 2012 London Olympics.
London will be the first city to host the Olympics proper for a record third time in the history of the Games.
For the Olympic Run yesterday, six categories were contested; the 2.5km for special needs people, 10 km for men's 49 years and below, 5km for boys' 15 years and under, 5km for girls' 15 years and under, 5km for women's open, and 5km for men's 50 years and above.
The special needs people category were further sub-categorised into blind open, hearing disabilities for boys and girls, wheelchair open, intellectual disabilities for boys and girls 15 years and below, and intellectual disabilities for boys and girls 16 years and above.
The Men's 49 years and below category was won by Md Khairul Anuar Ramli, followed by Md Ilmaazmi Md Isa and Md Azmi Yahya in second and third respectively. The organisers were unable to provide the timing of the men's winners at press time.
The Women's open category was won by Judy Leslie with a time of 24:12 minutes, followed by Nona Rowena Mahmud (26:39), and Maria Hj Ismail (26:43).
Women's open winner Leslie, a 49-year-old Scottish who stays in Seria, said that she only arrived in the Sultanate in February this year together with her husband, and running was her hobby.
"I run about three times a week, mainly as a hobby, just to pass time," said the Scot, who also expressed her disappointment at only clocking a 24:12 for a 5km run.
Also present to participate in the morning run yesterday were YAM Pg Muda Abdul Aleem Bolkiah, and Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Paduka Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah.
Courtesy from Brunei Times