HRH Princess Fadzilah Lubabul
Bulqiah (L) presents the plaque
to one of the head of delegations
during the 4th Special Olympics
Asia Pacific Bocce Competition
2012, held at the Bolkiah Stadium
of the Royal Brunei Police Force
(RBPF) headquarters in Gadong,
The 4th Special Olympics Asia Pacific Bocce Games 2012 officially rolled to a start yesterday, with Brunei looking to be favourites to win the six-day regional meet.
Special Olympics Brunei Darussalam (SOBD) Royal Patron Her Royal Highness Princess Fadzilah Lubabul Bulqiah graced yesterday's opening ceremony at the Bolkiah Stadium of the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) headquarters in Gadong and declared the competition open after the 56-athlete, six-country march pass.
Hosts Brunei have two teams at the November 25-30 tournament, where they are joined by Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.
The Sultanate finished third during the last edition of the biennial meet in 2010, and despite a changed team this year, Brunei's head of delegation was confident the hosts would provide a strong fight.
"I think we're the team to beat," smiled Suhaili Yusof.
"We've prepared well and had a national tournament two weeks ago to select players for this event ... But winning is not our main aim," he said when asked how many medals he expected Brunei to win.
The competition's chairman echoed Suhaili's comments, and in his speech during the opening ceremony, hoped that the meet would serve a greater purpose.
"The aim of this competition is not just (to) win medals, trophies or set new records, but most importantly, an opportunity to contribute to the development and welfare of people with special needs," pointed out Lt Col (R) Pg Hj Ramli Pg Hj Bunut.
"This also creates a positive awareness among the general public ... We also hope that this (will be) a gateway in fostering and strengthening friendship among the participating nations," he added.
The 56 athletes are made up of an equal number of male and female athletes competing in the singles, doubles, team and unified categories.
A press release handed out yesterday explained that bocce is a non-contact ball sport event, where the basic principle is to roll a bocce ball at a speed and strength so that it lands closest to the target ball, called a jack.
Brunei's highlight in the sport came when they won one gold, one silver and one bronze medal at last year's Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece.
Also present at the opening ceremony were Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah, and MCYS Deputy Minister Datin Paduka Hjh Adina Othman along with other officials from the ministry.
Courtesy from Brunei Times