(Top) Md Fakhri Ismail posing
with the gold and bronze
medals he won in athletics
(Above) Permanent Secretary
at the Ministry of Culture,
Youth and Sports, Dato Paduka
Hj Mohd Hamid Hj Mohd Jaafar
(2L) welcoming the national
team back from the Borneo
Games yesterday. Picture:
Brunei's contingent to the Borneo Games in Labuan received a warm welcome at the Serasa Ferry Terminal after arriving safely back in Brunei yesterday.
The country's 11-sport haul of eight gold, 11 silver and 18 bronze was an improvement on their medal count from their last outing in 2011, where they clinched eight gold, six silver and five bronze during the 4th Borneo Games in Indonesia.
Welcoming the 138-member contingent back from the Sept 13-22 tournament were their family and friends as well as the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Hamid Hj Mohd Jaafar, and the Acting Director of the Department of Youth and Sports, Hj Abdul Malik Hj Mohammad
The football team's 10-9 win over East Kalimantan in a nervy penalty shoot-out earned a memorable gold medal while the karate team and gasing teams pocketed two gold medals each with the remaining three gold medals coming from sepak takraw, athletics and pencak silat.
Brunei's best finish came when they hosted the third edition of the meet in 2009 and won 13 gold, 15 silver and 18 bronze medals.
Sabah beat Sarawak for the title of overall champions after winning 36 gold, 45 silver and 35 bronze medals while Sarawak won 36 gold, 37 silver and 30 bronze medals and Labuan third with 19 gold, 11 silver and 14 bronze medals.
Despite their medal haul putting them fifth in the seven-team table, the contingent's chef de mission was full of praise for the 114 athletes.
"I'm very satisfied with the turnout and I'd like to say thanks to the athletes for showing their determination against strong contenders," Kifli Hj Jaafar told The Brunei Times.
"Our athletes have been able to pick up some valuable experience which will help them further improve themselves.
"The pressure on the athletes at the Games was equal... As all the other teams were also aiming for gold.
"In terms of medals, we have made an improvement on silver and bronze since the last edition in 2011, Indonesia and we have shown consistency by picking the up the same number of gold medals as last time.
"I hope the government body in charge keeps on supporting the national athletes and giving them more time to prepare.
"Those two factors will help the athletes improve their performance which in turn will translate into better results," added Kifli.
Md Fakhri Ismail, who is a first time national representative, was the country's sole gold medalist in athletics after winning the 200m race with a time of 22.23s. Md Fakhri, whose main events are 100m and 200m races, also took part in the 4x400m where he picked up a bronze medal.
"I didn't really expect it because there are other strong contenders from Sabah and Sarawak," said Md Fakhri, who will now turn his attention to the Brunei Open from Oct 25-27.
Gasing (top-spinning) manager Kamal Hj Tujoh was pleased with the two gold and silver medals his team picked up and said the results boiled down to hard work.
"I'm very happy with the turnout and we were expecting to win gold from the start because we had prepared our best to compete," said Kamal, whose players won gold in the men's doubles and youth doubles.
The karate gold medals came from Mohammad Hamizan Sanif in the men's 75kg and below kumite event and Mohammad Mairul in the men's 67kg and below kumite event.
The sepak takraw contributed one gold after beating Sabah 3-0 (15-6, 15-7, 15-7) in the final of the regu event while national pencak silat athlete Zanorarif Zaini won the men's 65-70kg event.
Brunei participated in athletics, basketball, gasing, football, futsal, karetedo, lawn bowls, pencak silat, sepak takraw, swimming and tug-of-war.
Out of the 13 sports hosted at the Games, the only ones Brunei didn't take part in were 10-pin bowling and archery.
Labuan and Brunei were joined by Sabah, Sarawak and four Kalimantan territories.