President of Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council (BNOC) HRH Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah (R) handing over the national flag to Umi Kalthum Haji Abd Karim (L) for the 2nd Asian Youth Games, Nanjing, China, yesterday. Picture: BT/ Md Asdeny Yakub
His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, the president of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council (BNOC), believes that the athletes the country is sending to next week's 2nd Asian Youth Games will make Brunei proud.
Brunei will be sending five athletes to the August 16-24 competition in Nanjing, China, where golfer Qazzri Fakhri Hj Aslimon will be joined by fencers Md Hazeeq Asmui'e Md Fadzilah, Muhd Aizuddin Yaqin Hj Yahya, Mohd Haziq Asahrin and Muhd Anaqi Danish Asahrin.
"I believe that with the ability, discipline, focus and competitive spirit, all the five athletes will be a able to give a good fight and bring a good name to the country in the competition," said HRH in his sabda at yesterday's flag handing over ceremony.
"I understood that our only athlete in golf went to the competition venue to go for training and practice rounds, and I believe that this will give the athlete the advantage.
"The same goes to the fencers. I hope that with all the intensive training and preparation made, they will be able to give a challenge in their event," he said.
"We hope that all the athletes will be able to perform well and give a good fight in their respective events and not give up," he added.
HRH handed over the national flag to the chef de mission of the national contingent, Umi Kalthum Hj Abd Karim, at the Green Room of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
In his welcoming speech, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah said that Brunei's decision to send a team to China shows the country is commited to develop sports.
"The government of His Majesty continuously supports and encourages the development of sports in the country, and this includes making sure that Brunei takes part in every regional and international sports meet," he said.
"Alhamdulilah, this year the country is sending five athletes, and with the increase in number this year, it shows that we now have more athletes capable of participating at the highest level," added the minister.
Brunei sent two athletes to the inaugural edition in Singapore in 2009.
Nurafiqah Hj Rozaini competed in the 100m race while Amanda Liew Jia Xin swam the 100m breaststroke.
This year's edition of the competition will see an increase in participants from 1,321 athletes during 2009 up to 2,391 this year.
The organisers have also increased the number of events offered from 90 in the previous competition to 122.