Official Website of Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council
Brunei impress in Incheon
Saturday, July 6, 2013

If these is one thing the 4th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) has taught Brunei, it's that the country has talented athletes.

The Sultanate's three athletes all provided a good account of themselves, and though they failed to get on the podium, it certainly wasn't for a lack of trying.

Cueist Ahmad Taufiq Murni (pic) had the biggest impact of all three after nearly making it to the semi-finals of the 9-ball men's singles, only to fall 9-7 to World No 4 Li Hewen after a tough tactical quarter-final.

A berth in the last-four would have seen Taufiq finish with a joint-bronze medal at the very least, but a scratch at 7-7 allowed Li to clear up the table for a 8-7 lead, and the tournament's top seed and defending champion would mop up the next frame for the win.

As Taufiq himself noted, there is hardly anything separating the level of play among the world's top cueists just experience.

And as a player who sent Ralf Souquet crashing out of the 2011 Beijing Open the German a former World No 1 who was then ranked No 8 and is now No 5 Taufiq should know.

But the lack of big-match experience has hurt Taufiq, and now the country's top cueist will have to settle for playing in competitions closer to Brunei shores before perhaps getting a call-up for the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games one which he fully deserves, it has to be said.

Taufiq, who got a bye into the second round (round of 32), beat Singaporean Aloysius Yapp 9-6 in his first match before taking down United Arab Emirates' Mohamed Hasan Ebrahim Al Hosani by the same score in the round of 16.

Chess player Yee Soon Wei also made a mark for himself after finishing the men's classical event on 3.5 points out of a possible seven in a tournament where except for Indonesian International Master (IM) Farid Firman Syah who ended ninth, the rest of the top-15 were all Grand Masters (GM).

The World Chess Federation/FIDE Master (FM) ended 28th after starting the four-day event on 34th, and though his first match was a loss to GM Dzhumaev Marat, the former Asian Games gold medalist was suitably impressed with his opponent.

Marat, who finished fifth, praised Yee's decision making but said that the 23-year-old should have spent less time on each move.

But then again, Marat has been playing for 30 years, compared to Yee's 10, and the ability to analyse the game and make moves faster only comes with experience, as Marat himself pointed out.

Marat, though, did say that Yee was still young and had a long way to go in his chess career words which should only encourage Brunei's best player.

Swimmer Anderson Lim Chee Wei, meanwhile, only managed to break one of the three national records he was targeting though in all fairness, the 17-year-old does not have much experience swimming 25m short-course pool events.

The long-distance specialist only broke the 200m freestyle record on Tuesday when he became the first Bruneian to swim the event in under two minutes (1:58.84), breaking the previous national best of 2:00.50 which he set in Peru last October during trials for December's World Short Course Swimming Championships in Istanbul.

The records for the other two heats he competed in, the 100m butterfly and 100m freestyle, still stand.

Lim, who became Brunei's first Olympian swimmer when he competed in London last year, clocked 1:01.70 in the 100m butterfly and 54.92s in the 100m freestyle here in Incheon, with Christian Nikles still the record holder in both events 59.49s and 54.21s respectively.

Realistically, breaking national records is all that Brunei can hope for in regional meets such as these where a place in the final was never even talked about.

The superior size and physique of the other swimmers at the Dowon Aquatics Center meant Anderson would finish the 100m butterfly and 200m freestyle last in the field of eight swimmers, though his fourth place finish in the 100m freestyle heats was a sure sign of his potential.

It is this potential that Lim shares with Yee and Taufiq, all of whom have justified their tickets to South Korea.

Brunei has talent that is capable of rising up to the big occasion, all they need is continued exposure to such regional and international tournaments to make sure that talent doesn't go to waste.

Courtesy from Brunei Times