HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah (R), the president of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council (BDNOC), hands over the national flag to Chef de Mission Hj Abdul Malik Hj Mohammad during the handover ceremony for the Fourth Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games yesterday. Picture: BT/ Saiful Omar
Cue artist Ahmad Taufiq Murni (L), swimmer Anderson Lim Chee Wei (C) and chess player Yee Soon Wei will fly the flag for Brunei at the 4th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games in Incheon, South Korea. Picture: BT/ Saiful Omar
HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah had some strong words of support for the country's three athletes at next Saturday's Fourth Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games.
Brunei will be represented by swimmer Anderson Lim Chee Wei, cue artist Ahmad Taufiq Murni and chess player Yee Soon Wei at the June 29-July 6 multi-sport event in Incheon, South Korea all of whom will be leaving on Wednesday.
HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, the president of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council (BDNOC), spent time talking to the trio, their coaches and officials from their respective sports associations yesterday later telling The Brunei Times that he felt they were all on the right track to enjoy even more success.
"I told the athletes to try their best... I know it won't be easy there," noted HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah.
"Cue sports & billiards is being held for the second time, but for chess and swimming, both will be firsts.
"What I want is for them to be competitive and focused... I know they can do it.
"Right now I think they're nearly at the regional level, and to get to that level they need to compete in more tournaments," he added.
HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah was speaking to The Brunei Times after a flag-handing over ceremony to the country's chef de mission to the Fourth Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games, Hj Abdul Malik Hj Mohammad who is also the Acting Director of the Department of Youth and Sports.
Though all three are seasoned national athletes, Lim has the most big-stage experience of the trio after becoming Brunei's first Olympian swimmer when competing at last year's London Olympics.
"I think my competing in the Olympics has given me more confidence," said Lim, who will be swimming the 100m freestyle, 200m freestyle and 100m butterfly events.
"I'm very proud to be representing my country again and my aim is to break the national records in all three events I'll be competing in, though they are all going to be short-course (25m) events," he added.
For Taufiq, the Fourth Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games will be his first major tournament since the 2011 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Indonesia where he was unable to progress past the first round of both the 8-ball and 9-ball singles.
Taufiq will only compete at the 9-ball singles event in South Korea, but the player widely regarded as the country's best cueist was quick to point out that a poor draw will mean the end of the road for him.
"It's a single knock-out competition so it depends on the draw," he pointed out.
Though Taufiq said he has yet to find out who he will be up against in Incheon, Yee has a little bit more clarity on the matter, telling The Brunei Times that he has been drawn 40th in a pool of 50 players.
"It's a real privilege to have been chosen to go," beamed the World Chess Federation/FIDE Master (FM).
"I'll be playing seven rounds, and I will play higher or lower ranked players depending on if I win or lose my subsequent rounds," Yee explained.
The Olympic Council of Asia's website states that the Fourth Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games is the merger of two events into one competition the Asian Indoor Games and Asian Martial Arts Games.
The former was held for the first time in 2005 in Bangkok before moving on to Macau in 2007 and Hanoi, Vietnam in 2009 while the latter was only held once in 2009, where the Thai capital once again played the role of hosts.
Brunei has enjoyed relative success in both tournaments, though only in pencak silat and wushu both of which will not be contested in South Korea.
The country won one silver and five bronze medals through pencak silat and one bronze medal from wushu during the 3rd edition of the Asian Indoor Games in 2009 and clinched one silver and two bronze medals from pencak silat at the 1st Asian Martial Arts Games.
"Those successes prove that the country can achieve excellence not only in our own compound but can compete and win medals in the Asian sporting arena," said HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah in his sabda.
"However, pencak silat and wushu will not be on offer at the Games, ending our chances of repeating those past successes.
"Yet still, with the continued support from the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, through the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports... and the cooperation of BDNOC and the Olympic Council of Asia, the country is always committed to and will continue to compete in sporting events such as these even though the events that will be contested are those that are not usually competed in by our national athletes.
"I am fully confident that the successes they have achieved before were because of their systematic and continuous guidance from the relevant parties.
"I also appreciate the sacrifice and commitment that has been put in by all parties... to ensure that respective responsibilities are being fulfilled with teamwork and with the aim of one objective success.
"I hope these athletes will be given the same amount of attention and guidance so they will be able to focus whole-heartedly in carrying out their respective tasks.
"With a strong competitive spirit, will and determination to prove a fight, they will be successful and make the country proud."