The Brunei Darussalam Petanque Federation (BDPF) yesterday sought to explain the omission of national captain Mazlan Hj Yahya (pic) from the 2013 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games petanque team last night.
One of the most consistent players in the sport, Mazlan told The Brunei Times that he was left out of the country's squad to Myanmar for the Dec 11-22 Games despite winning silver in the men's singles event at a pre-SEA Games trial in Napyidaw, Myanmar, last month.
However, BDPF have said that the standard of the Sept 18 competition, where there were only three teams competing, did not meet the required benchmarks set out by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports' national selection and evaluation committee which decides which athletes represent Brunei in any contingent the country sends to regional and international tournaments and receives input from various sources.
"After a number of meetings and assessment, Mazlan did not fulfil the requirement that has been set by the SEA Games athletes' selection and evaluation committee," said BDPF honorary secretary Rosmin Hj Mohd Hassan in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.
"One of the key requirement is to at least win a bronze medal in a competition at which the standard is equivalent to SEA Games and Pan Pacific Petanque Championship and Mazlan did not.
"There were only three countries (Brunei, Thailand and Myanmar) competing in the pre-SEA Games competition last month and the committee can only approve (a selection) if there are more than seven countries participating," he added.
When asked why Zunaidi Ali, Hj Hamidon Hj Hamid and Hj Yussof Hj Mohammad were selected to represent Brunei in the triples event at the SEA Games, Hj Rosmin said they were given the go-ahead as they won bronze in the 7th Pan Pacific Petanque Championship held in country in July.
Zunaidi, Hj Hamidon and Hj Yussof shared third with Indonesia after reaching the semi-finals of the competition.
The trio defeated compatriots 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.
"I was surprised to hear the news that Mazlan is not included in the team," said national coach Somsak Juychunprasert of the player who made his international debut during the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia, where he failed to progress past the first round.
"I am very sad for Mazlan because he worked very hard, but the decision has been made and there is nothing much we can do.
"We now must focus on training for the (SEA Games)," stressed the Thai.