Brunei's athletes performed
admirably at the 4th Asian
Indoor & Martial Arts Games,
with Ahmad Taufiq Morni (L)
narrowly missing out on a chance
at winning a medal and
Anderson Lim Chee Wei (C),
Yee Soon Wei both giving a
good account of themselves
at the event held in Incheon,
South Korea. Picture: BT file
Continue investment in the trio of athletes sent to the 4th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) will be crucial in the country's drive for medals in an increasingly competitive field of play.
Though none of the Sultanate's three athletes won a medal at the Games, their displays in cue sports, chess and swimming merited their ticket to Incheon and was a sign that the country punched above it's weight at the eight-day tournament which featured world and regional champions as well as world-ranked athletes.
"Taking into account the quality of the athletes here... Many of them are professionals and they were expected to win," said the country's chef de mission Hj Abdul Malik Hj Mohammad after the Games came to a close on Saturday.
"But I believe we have good athletes. They're still young and with proper training and high-level tournaments like these, I believe they have what it takes.
"We also need luck.
"Look at Taufiq (Ahmad Taufiq Murni), he was within touching distance of a bronze medal.
"Yee (Yee Soon Wei) did well too, he got 3.5 out of seven points.
"Chess (players) need to compete in more tournaments at this level, if not they'll be static.
"With continous training, I'm sure all of them can do better," he said, adding that the trio are being considered for December's Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar.
Taufiq came the closest to bagging a medal after losing 9-7 to World No 4 Li Hewen in the quarter-finals of the men's 9-ball singles, where a berth in the semis would have ensured a joint-bronze medal.
Yee won three of his seven matches in the men's classical event and drew one, his total of 3.5 out of seven seeing him finish 28th in a 50-player tournament dominated by Grand Masters and International Masters where he started ranked 34th.
Swimmer Anderson Lim Chee Wei became the first Bruneian to swim the 200m short course (25m) freestyle in under two minutes (1:58.84), breaking his previous best of 2:00.50 which he set in Peru last October during trials for December's World Short Course Swimming Championships in Istanbul by almost two seconds.
The long-distance specialist was just 0.71s away from beating the national record in the 100m short course freestyle and 2.21s in the 100m short course butterfly after clocking 54.92s and 1:01.70 with the times to beat 54.21s and 59.49s respectively.
The trio's display only cemented their status as elites in Brunei sports, and Hj Abdul Malik, who is also the Acting Director of the Department of Youth and Sports, was suitably impressed.
"I think they performed better than expected," he said.
"When we first decided to participate, it was as part of our obligations to the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA). But when we got here, I really felt all the athletes put everything they had (into their events).
"They showed us fighting spirit and every event that I watched I could see that they gave it their all in line with the best of their abilities," he added.