Sixteen athletes, three coaches, three assistant coaches and three national sports associations received a total of $48,900 yesterday as a reward for their successful campaigns in regional and international tournaments last year.
Athletes from pencak silat and wushu dominated the Encouraging Success Sports Scheme rewarding ceremony this year following their excellent performances at the 15th Pencak Silat World Championship and 8th Asian Wushu Championship.
National wushu exponents Faustina Woo Wai Sii and Lee Ying Shi and pencak silat exponents Pg Khairul Bahri Pg Ali Umar and Siti Shazareena Hanifah were the biggest winners after receiving $4,000 each.
The rewards were handed over to the athletes, coaches and association representatives by the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah.
"It is an early birthday present for me, and even though it's not much I'm very happy," said Woo, who will turn 21 on Friday.
"As an athlete, to be rewarded for our achievements is very important.
"If the reward is high, we will work very hard to do well... Athletes work that way.
"Overall I am happy with my achievement, and I will try my best to win gold at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games this December," she added in an interview with The Brunei Times at the DiGadong Hall at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) building in Berakas.
Brunei Darussalam National Silat Association (PERSIB) took home the largest sum after receiving $28,600 in total for five bronze medals at November's 15th Pencak Silat World Championship in Chiang Rai, Thailand an amount which includes that awarded to the athletes and coaches.
The Wushu Federation of Brunei Darussalam received $11,600 for the gold medal Woo and Lee won in the women's duilian (duo sparring with broadsword and spear) event while the Brunei Darussalam Sepak Takraw Association (PESTABARU) took home $8,700 for the bronze medal they won after finishing joint-third with Indonesia in the inter-regu category at the 3rd Asian Beach Games in Haiyang, China.
The sepak takraw team lost both of their matches at Haiyang but still managed to finish joint-third after Myanmar pulled out of their three-team group at the last minute.
The top two teams progressed to the semi-finals, and Brunei were already guaranteed a slot in the last four even though they lost 3-2 (15-10, 13-15, 15-8, 14-6, 16-14) to Indonesia in their only group stage match.
They then fell 3-0 (15-4, 15-8, 15-7) to World No 1 and eventual champions Thailand in the semi-finals.
In his speech, the Acting Director at the Department of Youth and Sports Hj Abdul Malik Hj Mohammad said that the achievements were a result of the country's continuous, constructive and systematic training.
He added that the rewards were to encourage the athletes so they can achieve success through extensive training in the hope that it will improve their performance in regional and international tournaments.