The national petanque team
posing with their medals
after the completion of the
Invitational Open Petanque
Championship in Bintangor,
Sarawak. Picture: Mazlan Hj
Defending champions Mazlan Hj Yahya and Wirna Hj Mohd Yassin lost their Invitational Open Petanque Championship doubles crown after falling 13-4 to Bintulu-Thailand Mixed Team on Sunday.
The duo defeated Seratok 13-4 in the semi-final before losing out on gold to to Bintulu-Thailand in the one-day tournament in Bintangor, Sarawak.
Speaking to The Brunei Times yesterday, the team's captain was far from happy with the silver medal.
"It was very frustrating to lose in the final as we were aiming to retain the crown this year," said Mazlan, who teamed up with Wirna to beat Bintagor 13-11 in last year's final.
"We must work very hard now.
"We always give our best in every tournament... We tried our best in this tournament and we will try harder next year," promised Mazlan.
On a positive note, all the other Bruneian players in the competition Hamidon Hj Hamid, Hj Karim Hj Ahmad, Hj Mat Rasil Hj Ahmad, Hj Yussof Mohammad, Junaidi Ali and Muhd Abdillah Tamin reached the quarter-finals.
"We did not achieve our target in this tournament but we have other things to be happy about," noted national coach Somsak Juychunprasert.
"Most players have improved over the past few months, and I am very happy that all the Bruneians made it to the top eight.
"In the past we have had Mazlan and Wirna as the best players in the sport, but the others have improved too now.
"It is very healthy competition and very good for the sport," added the Thai.
Hj Yussof and Hamidon were the second-best Bruneians in the competition after finishing fifth.
Hj Mat Rasil and Hj Karim finished sixth, while Junaidi and Muhd Abdillah finished seventh.
Brunei has been in a rich vein of form as of late after the national team won the Mukah Open Petanque Championship last month when Mazlan and Junaidi defeated Bintulu Petanque Club 13-10 in the final of the double event.
Brunei also bagged bronze in the 7th Pan Pacific Petanque Championship held in the Sultanate earlier last month when Hamidon, Junaidi and Hj Yussof shared third place with Indonesia after reaching the semi-finals of the competition.
The trio defeated compatriots Awg Abdul Wahab Salihin Hj Besar, Marhalim Hj Juni and Azmi Eddy Mohd Harris 13-5 in the quarter-final before losing to eventual silver-medalists Vietnam 13-6 in the semi-final at the Petanque Pitch of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas.