His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, the president of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council (BDNOC), during yesterday's post-mortem meeting for November's 26th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games held at the Lecture Theatre of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas. Picture: BT/ Yee Chun Leong
Prince attends post-mortem meeting for 26th SEA Games, pushes for changes to fitness tests used by national selection and evaluation committee
IT'S time for a change, according to His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, the president of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council (BDNOC).
The Prince suggested this after the fitness tests used by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports' national selection and evaluation committee to select the athletes for overseas competitions were brought into question at yesterday's post-mortem meeting for November's 26th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
Having seen the national contingent return from the SEA Games in Palembang and Jakarta without any gold and in last place in the 11-team table, HRH asked about the criteria for fitness tests used for various sports and talked about the country's performance at the Games during the meeting held at the Lecture Theatre of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
"I'm not happy with the performance of the national contingent (at the 26th SEA Games) because we did better two years ago," said HRH (pic).
"It is also quite strange because the cycling team failed the (fitness) tests, but a lot of people said that they are good (based on their times and recent performances). I think we have to look into it (the current fitness test)," added the Prince.
Citing comments made by former national shorinji kempo coach Agus Tanimoto during an interview with The Brunei Times on Nov 22 when the Indonesian said that Brunei needed "kempo champions and not fitness champions", the Prince said changes have to be made.
"The athletes have to work harder and we have to push for some changes," said the BDNOC president.
Speaking to The Brunei Times in Jakarta after last year's SEA Games, Tanimoto rued Brunei's decision to send only four shorinji kempo exponents to the Indonesian event.
Despite ending the biennial tournament as the most dominant of any of the 11 teams the Sultanate brought to Indonesia, the then national coach felt the team could have finished with more than two silver medals had they more athletes.
The sport was only introduced in Brunei last year, and though a team of 12 were shortlisted for the Games, only five passed the mandatory fitness tests and one would later pull out due to injury.
"Alhamdullilah ... We have got these two medals," Tanimoto had said. "If we had more athletes here I'm sure we could have won more medals ... But this is fate I guess. If we had a team of 12 I'm sure we could have won two more silver medals and four bronze.
"Sure, some of our athletes might not have passed the fitness tests ... (but) kempo has only been in Brunei for seven months, so it is not possible for all the athletes to pass the fitness tests.
"If we keep training I am sure we will pass the tests and get the required 85 per cent in two years (ahead of the next Games).
"Those that didn't pass ranged from 67 per cent to 80 per cent ... (but) as a coach, I know my athletes. They only compete for two minutes (during each event). What is important is they put up a good performance in that time.
"So the tests should be a guide not compulsory. The important thing is that we become kempo champions, not fitness champions!," stressed the Indonesian.
Passing marks for the fitness tests are set at 85 per cent.
Fitness tests were not the only issue brought up by the Prince with the BNOC president also telling Bruneian athletes to work on their weaknesses and prepare early for the next Games, to be held next year in Myanmar.
Yesterday's meeting was aimed at assessing Brunei's performance at the Games held in Indonesia in November.
Besides the Prince, the two-and-a half hour meeting was also attended by Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah, members of the BDNOC as well as officials from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and the Department of Youth and Sports.
Also present were members of the national teams that saw action at the tournament, their coaches and representatives of the respective associations.
Brunei competed in 11 sports football, fencing, 10-pin bowling, cue sports, petanque, sepak takraw, wushu, taekwando, karate, pencak silat and shorinji kempo at the Nov 11-22 biennial event.
The Sultanate sent 60 athletes with 20 of them making up the football team and returned with four silver and seven bronze medals.
The result meant that they were the only country in the 11-team table that didn't win a gold medal at the tournament.
On the other hand, Brunei sent 24 athletes to compete in six sports athletics, cue sports, karate, pencak silat, sepak takraw and taekwondo in the previous edition of the Games in Laos and returned home with one gold, one silver and eight bronze medals.
Courtesy from Brunei Times