Brunei's CDM Hj Abdul Malik (pic) : I'm proud of all of them (nat'l athletes)
At the end of the day there's just no hiding from the cold, hard truth: Brunei's athletes weren't good enough to win a gold medal at this year's Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
Though the wushu team came tantalisingly close when they finished Monday's duilian event (duo sparring with broadsword and spear) just 0.01 points behind gold medallists Singapore who also beat them to gold in Laos two years ago the country's haul of four silver and seven bronze medals from 11 sports means they end the Games at the bottom of the 11-nation pile.
The Sultanate bagged one gold, one silver and eight bronze medals at the last Games in Laos, and except for the 2001 edition in Kuala Lumpur when they scored five silver and six bronze medals to also finish last, have returned from every subsequent meet with one gold.
The contingent's chef de mission was definitely expecting more from the country's athletes, who failed to pick up even one of the 554 gold medals on offer.
"I'm very disappointed we didn't win any," admitted Hj Abdul Malik Hj Mohammad after the duilian medal ceremony, the last event the country saw action in.
"But I'm proud of all of them. The quality was there. In wushu we know we are at par with them (Singapore). We lost by the smallest of margins ... Some external factors might have affected the results," he told The Brunei Times during the interview.
The kempo team, who were only formed this year, stand out as the most successful national side with two silver medals, with the karatedo team adding the fourth.
The karatedo team also won two bronze medals, with the remaining coming from pencak silat (three), wushu (one) and taekwono (one).
The solution to make sure the country gets on top of the podium at Myanmar in 2013?
"We should have specialised athletes in certain sports," said Hj Abdul Malik, who is also the Acting Director of the Department of Youth and Sports.
"There should be systematic and strategic coaching and training, especially in sports we have historically done well in like taekwondo, karatedo, wushu, pencak silat, fencing.
"I am confident if our athletes keep working hard we will win in the future," he added.
Hj Malik also moved to downplay stories that the Games have been plagued with trouble from the start and said that the Indonesia SEA Games Organising Committee (Inasoc) did a good job given the circumstances.
"Like any other Games, shortages will be there," he said.
"But Inasoc has done tremendously well, especially in Jakarta.
"Even though it's not really easy to go from one place to another they did their best to ferry us around I salute them," he added.
Indonesia won the Games with 182 gold, 151 silver and 143 bronze medals continuing the long-standing tradition of hosts being crowned overall champions, except for Laos (2009) and Brunei (1999). Thailand finished second with 109 gold, 100 silver and 120 bronze medals while Vietnam were third on 96 gold, 92 silver and 100 bronze medals.
Brunei's best Games was, no surprise, in 1999 when the country's athletes claimed four gold, 12 silver and 31 bronze medals.
In the end, just one gold medal would have been enough for Brunei to secure their place above Timor Leste who ended the 26th SEA Games with one gold, one silver and six bronze medals.
Courtesy from Brunei Times