Players during a training session
earlier in the year. National
coach Somsak Juychunprasert is
confident Brunei can win medals
at the SEA Games if they are
chosen. Picture: BT file
National petanque coach Somsak Juychunprasert believes that the national team has got what it takes to finish on the top of the podium at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Napyidaw, Myanmar in this year.
"I believe that Brunei will be able to win medals in the SEA Games this year," said the coach in a recent interview with The Brunei Times.
"It will not be easy as we are up against the world bests such as Thailand and Vietnam, but I think Bruneians are ready to win it this time," added the Thai.
The national team are currently undergoing intensive training as they are aiming for a spot in the 27th edition of the SEA Games in December.
National captain Mazlan Hj Yahya, Hamidon Hj Hamid, Hj Mat Rasil Hj Ahmad, Hj Yussof Mohammad, Junaidi Ali, Wirna Hj Mohd Yassin, Pg Hj Asmalina Pg Hj Jaya, Muhd Abdillah Tamin and Wedy Nurol Suzana Luon are the candidates for the tournament in Myanmar.
"We have very good players in the team," noted Somsak.
"Players like Mazlan, Wirna and Muhd Abdillah... They are among the best petanque players in the region and there are new players that are getting better every day such as Hamidon, Hj Yusof, Wedy and Junaidi.
"We plan to send more athletes to SEA Games this year simply because it will increase the chances for Brunei to win medals in the sport.
"If you participate more, you will get higher chances to win too," Somsak added.
Brunei also competed at the previous edition of the SEA Games in Indonesia in 2011, though both Mazlan and Muhd Abdillah failed to win any medals.
The national team have a very busy schedule in the next few months.
They will be competing in the Asian Petanque Championship in Bali, Indonesia from October 20-27 and two smaller regional tournaments in September.
Brunei best record at the Asian Petanque Championship was a silver medal in 2009.
Mazlan, Wirna and Pg Hj Asmalina lost to champions Vietnam 13-5 in the final in Suphanburi, Thailand.
The national team only managed to reach the quarter-final the following year in 2010 and 2011.
They also reach the quarter-final during the last edition of the tournament in Vietnam.
The team have a better chance to winning medals when they head to Bintulu to defend their crown in two Borneo meets.
The titleholder will first compete in the 4th Borneo Inter-Club Petanque Championship on September 14 before defending another crown at the 3rd Borneo Cup Petanque Championship which commence the next day.
In a previous report in The Brunei Times, Somsak said that he is aiming to provide new facessome much needed international exposure at the Asian Petanque Championship.
"We have a lot of players now so it is not going to be a problem chosing players for the tournament," said Somsak in an interview last week.
"We have a lot of young and new faces in the team and they are very good and talented, so I can always choose who will be going to compete in Indonesia.
"But first I would like to know if we are going to compete at the SEA (Southeast Asian) Games in December so that I can divide the teams.
" I will probably send the young players to Bali.
"We are still waiting for an answer from the management regarding the SEA Games.
"I hope that we can sort this thing out there is not much time left as countries such as Malaysia and Vetnam have prepared for this tournaments for many months."