Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council (BNOC) HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah (R) presenting the national flag to the chef de mission to next week's London Olympics, Hj Muhd Zamri DP Hj Hamdani (L), in Berakas yesterday. Picture: BT/ Saiful Omar
His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah yesterday called upon the country's three athletes to the London Olympics to make full use of the opportunity handed to them to compete at the world's biggest stage.
The president of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council (BNOC), the Prince yesterday presented the national flag to the contingent's chef de mission to the July 27-Aug 12 Olympics, Hj Muhd Zamri DP Hj Hamdani.
Also present during the ceremony at the International Convention Centre in Berakas was YAM Pg Muda 'Abdul 'Aleem.
Three Brunei athletes will be competing in the biggest tournament of their lives in London, where swimmer Anderson Lim Chee Wei will be joined by 400-metre specialists Ak Hafiy Tajuddin Pg Rositi and Maziah Mahusin.
Not only is this the first time Brunei will be sending more than one athlete to the Olympics, London 2012 also marks the first time the Sultanate will be sending a female athlete Maziah now a household name after her ticket was confirmed last month and she gained global recognition in the process.
All three athletes will be competing under 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.
However, that doesn't mean they should be taking the competition any less seriously.
"Even though we are competing under the universality place, I am confident the athletes will do their best to be competitive and better their personal bests," said the Prince.
"I also hope they will make full use of this opportunity to gain as much experience and knowledge about the Olympic Movement and Olympic Values as they can.
"I am very happy and proud that the country is sending a contingent. Though the number of athletes is small, their value is large since they will be fulfilling our commitment as International Olympic Council (IOC) members. This year's participation is historic because for the first time, we will be sending more than one athlete and one of them is a female.
"This is the Olympic spirit which we want to show to the world, that women in Brunei are not discriminated and have a role to play in local and international sports in line with the Olympic Charter's Fundamental Principles of Olympism which call for gender equality.
"This year is also historic because for the first time, Brunei will be represented by a swimmer (Lim)," added the president.
The team will be leaving on Monday though Lim will be flying to London from his training base in Florida, the United States.
The Prince also thanked the government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, the Brunei Darussalam Athletics Association and the Brunei Amateur Swimming Association for all the support given to the council.
The BNOC president also expressed his gratitude to Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA), Telekom Brunei Berhad (TelBru) and Mitsui Consortium for sponsoring the airfare, apparel and the runners' shorts, shirts and spikes.
Courtesy from Brunei Times