BDNOC President HRH Prince Hj
Sufri Bolkiah (2nd from left)
was present at the meeting
in Berakas yesterday.
Pictures: BT/ Yusri Adanan
Brunei will be sending at least two athletes to the London Olympics.
The country's preparation for the July 27-Aug 12 Olympics is going full-steam ahead, with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports' national selection and evaluation committee meeting yesterday to discuss the Sultanate's participation in the year's biggest multi-sport event.
President of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council (BDNOC) His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah was present during the meeting at the Conference Room of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas, as was the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah and other officials from the ministry.
A prior meeting on Feb 13 saw the committee agree to send one athlete each in athletics and swimming, and since then, it was suggested that two more athletes be considered in case of injury or loss of form.
Brunei will be competing in the Olympics because of the universality places which the world governing bodies for athletics and swimming the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and International Swimming Federation (FINA) have opened to countries who have no qualified athletes.
The Brunei Athletics Association (BAA) and Brunei Amateur Swimming Association (BASA) were to nominate additional athletes in each sport; one male for athletics and one female for swimming.
However, it is understood that BASA chose not to nominate any female swimmer as none met the criteria.
The country did not send any female swimmers to the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships in Shanghai last July a prerequisite to swimming in London.
Though the committee said it is "difficult to say who the first or second choice (athlete) is", an educated guess is that it will be swimmer Anderson Lim Chee Wei and hurdler Maziah Mahusin flying the flag for Brunei in a few month's time.
The two were awarded London 2012 Olympic Scholarships last September and have regularly featured for the country over the past couple of years.
Taking into account the committee is looking for a male athlete in athletics, the odds are that the seat will to go to Ak Hafiy Tajuddin Pg Rositi one of the country's best medal prospects in any international event.
The 400-metre specialist competed in both the IAAF World Championships in South Korea and Asian Athletics Championships in Japan last year and together with Maziah also represented Brunei at this month's IAAF World Indoor Championship in Istanbul, Turkey.
The committee promised the media present that the male athlete in athletics will be announced in due course.
Meanwhile, BDNOC secretary-general Hj Zuraimi Hj Abd Sani revealed that the country's participation in the Olympics will be boosted by two grants.
The first, a National Olympic Council (NOC) support grant from the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG), will see each accredited athlete and official eligible for £1420.35 to be used for airfare to London.
The second is from the International Olympic Council's Olympic Solidarity Commission, part of which will be used for athletes' preparation.
"The grant is only for 2012 and part of it can be used to compete overseas," explained the secretary-general yesterday.
"BDNOC will use the funds to send the short-listed athletes for intensive training in London ... That's what the plan is.
"HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah has been in discussion with a few universities which have the training facilities and the duration of the training will vary on how much the university charges.
"Certain athletes might not necessarily want to go to London to train ... that's just an option. They might want to compete in tournaments abroad.
"As long as the fund is used for preparation of athletes," he added.
Though the total could not be disclosed, part of it will also be used to cover BDNOC's administration costs.
Courtesy from Brunei Times