National silat athletes practice
their moves during a training
session yesterday at the Indoor
Stadium of the Hassanal Bolkiah
National Sports Complex in
Berakas.Pictures: BT/Yusri Adanan
They are firm believers of the old adage "early bird catches the worm" and they are keeping to it.
The national silat team have been undergoing training for a while now and they have not rested much during the fasting month of Ramadhan.
The team still trains two sessions a day (2-5pm and 9-11pm) and they know that it is the only way to stay in top shape.
They are one of the teams that have been shortlisted for the 26th Southeast Asian Games (SEA) in Indonesia later this year in November and they are trying to ensure they get themselves tickets on that plane there.
"It is important that we do not stop training completely because we need to prepare ourselves on both the physical and technical sides," said Suhartono, the national silat coach, in an interview with The Brunei Times recently when met at the Indoor Stadium of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas.
Having prepared early, it paid off as the sport delivered the country's only gold medal in the 25th edition of the Games in Laos back in 2009 through Hj Md Khairul Bahrin Hj Duraman in the men's tunggal event.
In addition, the national side have been given a boost with the Philippines national team providing sparring options staying in the Sultanate last month as they are also preparing for the SEA Games.
"We have been training together and this has been a very good programme. We needed sparring partners during training especially for those who are already the best in the country," said Suhartono.
On the other hand, the last outing by the national squad saw them return with one silver and two bronze medals at the 3rd Southeast Asian Pencak Silat Championships in Kuala Lumpur in June.
Sending only a squad of only four athletes, Eddy Ratno Hj Abu Bakar won the bronze in the men's tunggal while the bronzes came from Md Amali Hj Malik and Farina Afidah Pehin Dato Paduka Hj Abdul Jalil in the men's Class B and the women's Class F events respectively.
According to the national coach, they only sent a small contingent as the rest had remained to train with the Filipino athletes.
"Those that needed more experience went out to compete. They were also looking to get some achievements and prove that they can do it," explained the Indonesian.
The team will take their talents to Indonesia from Sept 12 onwards for a month-long training. The programme will involve travelling about to Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya and Jogjakarta to compete.
"There are very strong athletes there. We'll be staying at the tournament venue (for SEA Games) to train and then go around different provinces in search for sparring partners," said Suhartono.
"We're still undergoing the selection process and going to Indonesia is an important period for us because it will either make or break them," said the 54-year-old.
Courtesy from Brunei Times